Earlier this month saw the final retirement of GIOVE-A, now it it the turn of GIOVE-B to be deactivated and retired. The two GIOVE spacecraft were designed and deployed to test the technology for the European GPS system known as Galileo.
The GIOVE (Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element) project was designed to test and prove various technology elements of the new navigation satellite constellation. The main component for navigation is precise timing and this was one feature of the GIOVE spacecraft. There were two timing devices being tested in the satellites: a rubidium clock and hydrogen maser clock, both atomic clocks.