UPDATE: Arianespace will launch two European navigation satellites on a Soyuz rocket on Friday. Watch it live.


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Update for December 3: Due to bad weather, Arianespace has again delayed this launch by 24 hours. Take-off is now scheduled for Saturday, December 4. The exact time of the targeted take-off has not yet been announced.

Update for December 2: Arianespace is now targeting the launch on Friday (December 3) of the Galileo satellite mission on a Russian-built Soyuz rocket. Take-off is scheduled for December 3 at 7:23 p.m. EST (0023 GMT).


Arianespace plans to send two new European Galileo navigation satellites into space tonight (December 2) and you will be able to watch it live online.

An Arianespace Soyuz rocket will launch two navigation satellites into orbit at 7:27 p.m. EST (9:27 p.m. local time at the Guiana Space Center launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, or Friday, December 3 at 12:27 a.m. GMT). Arianespace, based in France, is expected to broadcast the launch on the web live on youtube, which you can watch here, once available. Arianespace generally begins its launch webcasts approximately 20 minutes before take-off.

The European Space Agency will also webcast the launch on its ESAWeb TV stream. The mission, if successful, will increase the European global navigation satellite to 28 members. The nearly six-year-old constellation serves 2.3 billion users worldwide, Arianespace said in launch documentation.

Related: How Rockets Work: A Complete Guide

Arianespace will use a Soyuz rocket produced by the Progress Space Rocket Center, which is part of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. This is the fourteenth time the partnership aims to send a Galileo mission into space, Arianespace said.

The mission is carried out on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA), on behalf of the European Commission, in order to bring “strategic autonomy and sovereignty to the EU [European Union] citizens and its member states, ”Arianespace said of the mission.

Galileo is similar to the United States’ Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russia’s Glonass system, but aims to offer Europeans a homemade alternative in case any of these other systems become unavailable.

The 26 Galileo satellites currently in orbit were launched by both Soyuz rockets and the company’s heavy-lift rocket, Ariane 5. Arianespace plans six more Galileo satellites in the coming years using Soyuz and a next-generation rocket. Ariane 6 version known as Ariane. 62. The first flight of the Ariane 6 rocket is now expected in 2022, delayed compared to 2020.

Tonight’s mission, known as the Galileo FOC-M9, will be the 61st mission launched by Arianespace on behalf of ESA and will carry the 83rd and 84th satellites of the partnership. The delivered satellites will join the rest of the Galileo constellation in mid-earth orbit at 14,429 miles (23,222 kilometers), according to ESA Documentation.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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