EU’s GPS-like Galileo service comes back to life

Galileo, the European Union’s answer to GPS, regained initial services on July 18, after a weeklong outage that began on July 11. According to a release by the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, known as GSA, “Commercial users can already see signs of recovery of the Galileo navigation and timing services, although some fluctuations may be experienced until further notice.”

Gps IirmWikipedia CommonsThe agency reported that the problem originated in an equipment malfunction in the Galileo ground infrastructure. The downtime period resulted in smartphones and other receivers being incapable of obtaining usable timing or positional data from GNSS. Those devices instead had to rely on GPS, as well as Russian and Chinese technologies, depending on the sat-nav chips installed in the devices.

The GSA said that its team is monitoring its services to restore timing and navigation services at their nominal levelsWe will set an independent inquiry board to identify the root causes of the major incident. This will allow the commission, as the program manager, together with the EU Agency GSA to draw lessons for the management of an operational system with several millions of users worldwide,” the GSA said in a statement. 

EU’s Galileo is presently in an initial roll-out phase since it was launched in 2016, which means it would not yet lead critical applications. It has been reported that the search-and-rescue functions on Galileo satellites are unaffected by the outage. According to the GSA, “Galileo signals are used in combination with other satellite navigation systems, which allows for the detection of technical issues before the system becomes fully operational.”

Currently, there are 26 Galileo satellites in Earth orbit.

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