As reported by the BBC, two satellites meant to form part of the EU's Galileo global positioning network
have been launched into a wrong, lower orbit
, and it is unclear whether they can be salvaged. NASASpaceFlight.com has a more detailed account
of the launch, which says [D]espite the Arianespace webcast noting no issue with the launch, it was later admitted the satellites were lofted into the wrong orbit. “Following the announcement made by Arianespace on the anomalies of the orbit injection of the Galileo satellites, the teams of industries and agencies involved in the early operations of the satellites are investigating the potential implications on the mission,” noted a short statement, many hours after the event. It is unlikely the satellites can be eased into their correct orbit, even with a large extension to their transit time. However, ESA are not classing the satellites as lost at this time. “Both satellites have been acquired and are safely controlled and operated from ESOC, ESA’s Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany,” the Agency added.
Over the course of the next "year or so," an additional 24 satellites are slated to complete the Galileo constellation, to be launched by a mixed slate of Ariane and Soyuz rockets.