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European Global Navigation Satellite System Galileo Inoperable, Users Unable to Use Signals

© ESA/J.HuartGalileo satellite system
Galileo satellite system - Sputnik International
Created by the European Union, the 10 billion euro navigation system went live in 2016, and fields 22 satellites in its constellation.

The Galileo global navigation satellite system remains inoperational, with system administrators issuing an advisory notice to all users saying that "until further notice, users experience a service outage. The signals are not to be used."

Earlier, a source from the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, which operates Galileo, told InsideGNSS.com that the system's service would be 'degraded' until further notice due to technical problems.

"They are working on it. Teams from industry and the Agencies are working 24/7 to restore the Galileo services as soon as possible to their nominal levels. The current estimation is that the services should be restored within 48 hours," the source said. Engineers had initially hoped to fix the problem by Sunday night.

On July 11, the GNSS Service Centre's website issued a notice saying: "Users may experience service degradation on all Galileo satellites. This means that the signals may not be available nor meet the minimum performance levels defined in the service definition documents and shoudl be employed at users' own risk." 

Another source told InsideGNSS.com that the problem may be related to faults with the Italy-based Precise Timing Facility ground station. The facility is equipped with Cesium clocks and a Hydrogen Maser clock, and uploads its data to the orbiting satellites to provide accurate time reference and make user localization possible.

Last year, the UK announced that it would explore the possibility of developing its own satellite navigation system after being shut out of the Galileo program due to Brexit. British companies built a number of components for the system, with one of the project's two security monitoring centres once based in Swanwick, UK before being relocated to Spain. The UK expressed concerns over losing access to the system, which is used by government agencies and the British armed forces.

Galileo is one of just a handful of global navigation systems in the world, working alongside the US's GPS, Russia's GLONASS, and China's BeiDou. The system was conceived in 1999 as a joint project between the EU and the European Space Agency, with the first satellites for its constellation put into orbit in 2013.

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