2 Europe navigation satellites in the wrong orbits

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Associated Press

Posted on August 23, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Updated Sunday, Aug 24 at 9:01 AM

PARIS (AP) — European space officials say they're investigating whether the inaccurate deployment of two satellites will complicate their efforts to develop a new Galileo satellite navigation system that would rival America's GPS network.

The European Space Agency and launch company Arianespace say the satellites ended up in off-target orbits after being launched Friday from Kourou, French Guiana, aboard a Soyuz rocket.

Saturday's agency statement did not explain the difference between the satellites' intended orbits and its current ones, or whether their orbital paths could be corrected. Arianespace declined further comment.

The European Union hopes to have its 30-satellite Galileo navigation network operating fully by 2020. The Prague-based program oversaw the launch of its first two satellites in 2011, two more in 2012, and two more Friday.

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