Sat. May 30th, 2020

EU Galileo satellite navigation system service has a large-scale disruption

2 min read

According to a BBC news report, the European satellite navigation system, Galileo has been offline since Friday. The system’s status page currently lists all 22 of its satellites as “Not Usable” or “Testing,” as part of an event that begins Friday morning. The European Agency for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GSA) said in a statement that the system is being affected by “technical incident related to its ground infrastructure.”

“Galileo launch on Soyuz, 21 Oct 2011”by DLR_de is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Interruption means that the satellite is unable to provide timing or positioning data to a European smartphone or another device that typically uses the system. As of February last year, more than 30 smartphone models supported Galileo, including the iPhone released since 2017. However, according to BBC News, if you own one of the phones, it is unlikely to notice the interruption, because all affected devices will automatically switch to the US-operated Global Positioning System (GPS) or Russian GLONASS. It seems that the impact on users is not particularly large.

The European Global Navigation Satellite System Bureau issued an early warning to users on the 11th that the Galileo system’s signal may not be used properly; an update was issued on the 14th, saying that the Galileo system’s primary navigation and timing service was temporarily interrupted, but the search and rescue services were not affected.

The Galileo system was built by the European Union and the European Space Agency and cost billions of euros. It was launched in 2003 and first launched in December 2016. It is expected to achieve full satellite networking by 2020. Galileo, owned by the European Union and operated by the European Space Agency, was first introduced in December 2016 as a replacement for GPS. The system consists of 22 operational satellites, two of which are being tested and 12 have not yet been launched, and are scheduled to be fully operational by 2020. Last year, the US Federal Communications Commission announced that it would allow US phones to connect to Galileo for more accurate timing and location reliability. However, this technical disruption is a bit embarrassing, especially in recent years, the EU is trying to reduce its dependence on foreign satellite navigation systems.