2 European sat-nav satellites in off-course orbits
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 declined to explain the difference between the satellites' intended and actual orbits, or whether their orbital paths could be corrected. Arianespace likewise 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.