MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) -The failure of the European Union’s Galileo satellites to reach their intended orbital position was likely caused by software errors in the Fregat-MT rocket’s upper-stage, Russian newspaper Izvestia reported Thursday.
“The nonstandard operation of the integrated management system was likely caused by an error in the embedded software. As a result, the upper stage received an incorrect flight assignment, and, operating in full accordance with the embedded software, it has delivered the units to the wrong destination,” an unnamed source from Russian space Agency Roscosmos was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Both the upper-stage and the software for it were developed by a Moscow-based government-owned corporation, the Academician Pilyugin Scientific-production Center of Automatics and Instrument-Making, or the Academician Pilyugin Center.
On August 22, the launch of Galileo’s Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket took place at the European Union’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The satellites, which are part to the Galileo program, designed to provide a European alternative to the American GPS and Russian Glonass navigation systems, have been placed in a lower orbit than expected.
The Arianespace satellite launch company, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos are currently investigating the incident.