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Galileo Sat-nav System Suffers Service Outage

Duncan MacRae

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satellite

The problem reportedly lies with a fault at a Precise Timing Facility (PTF) in Italy.

Europe’s satellite-navigation system, Galileo, has been experiencing major service disruption.

The network, which is still in the pilot phase, has been down since 12th of July Friday due to what the European GNSS Agency (GSA) describes as a “technical incident related to its ground infrastructure”.

Due to the service being offline, receivers, such as the latest smartphone models, have been unable to pick up any useable timing or positional information.

Instead, these devices have been relying on data coming from the American Global Positioning System (GPS).

Depending on the sat-nav chip they have installed, connected devices may also be linking with the Chinese (Beidou) and Russian (Glonass) networks.

GSA warned users on Thursday that Galileo’s signals might become unreliable. A further update was made later that night explaining that the service was out of use until further notice.

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GSA said: “Galileo is currently affected by a technical incident related to its ground infrastructure. The incident has led to a temporary interruption of the Galileo initial navigation and timing services, with the exception of the Galileo Search and Rescue (SAR) service. The SAR service – used for locating and helping people in distress situations for example at sea or mountains – is unaffected and remains operational.”

Galileo provides ‘initial services’ since December 2016. During this initial pilot phase preceding the full operational services phase, 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.

A GSA spokesperson added: “Experts are working to restore the situation as soon as possible. An Anomaly Review Board has been immediately set up to analyse the exact root cause and to implement recovery actions.”

Duncan MacRae

Editor

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