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European satellite navigation system Galileo continues trial operation

Galileo ESA satellite

The initial services of the European satellite navigation system Galileo have been successfully restored, Galileo was hit by a technical incident involving its ground-based infrastructure. The incident resulted in a temporary interruption of Galileo’s globally available navigation and time services, except for the Galileo Search and Rescue service. The so-called search and rescue service, which is used for the localisation and help of people in emergencies, such as in the sea or on mountains, was unaffected and remained operational. The technical incident was caused by a malfunction of the facilities in the Galileo control centres, which calculate the time and orbit forecasts and are used to process the navigation message. The disorder affected various elements in the control centres in Fucino (Italy) and at the DLR site in Oberpfaffenhofen.

A team of experts from the Galileo Service Operator under the leadership of Spaceopal GmbH worked at full speed and in close cooperation with the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and the subcontracting industry for the ground systems and the European Space Agency (ESA) to remedy the malfunction. Due to the technical complexity of the system and the analysis of error dependencies, these efforts took several days to confirm the resumption of trial operation on July 18, 2019.

An independent commission of Inquiry is now analysing for the EU Agency GSA and the EU Commission as program responsible authority the more precise circumstances and triggers of the failure to continuously improve the system in the test phase. Galileo has been offering Initial Service since December 2016. During this “pilot start-up” phase prior to the “full operational service phase”, Galileo signals will be used in combination with other satellite navigation systems, allowing for the testing and detection of technical issues during incremental commissioning. Galileo will operate independently of other satellite navigation systems during the fully operational phase.

Meaning of Galileo

Galileo is a high technology EU flagship program and provides navigation services to citizens. Already there are 700 million devices that can handle Galileo signals in addition to other satellite navigation services. As another independent and autonomous satellite navigation system, Galileo makes a significant contribution to improving the global availability and accuracy of GNSS services to every citizen.

Featured Image Source: ESA / Pierre Carril

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