Europe's satellite navigation system Galileo stops working completely after 'technical incident'

Users are now relying on the US's GPS system, which European alternative was built to replace

Andrew Griffin
Monday 15 July 2019 16:09
Comments
In this handout image supplied by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Soyuz rocket lifts off for the third time from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana on its mission to place the second pair of Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites into orbit, on October 12, 2012
In this handout image supplied by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Soyuz rocket lifts off for the third time from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana on its mission to place the second pair of Galileo In-Orbit Validation satellites into orbit, on October 12, 2012

Europe's satellite navigation system has been broken for days, after a disastrous technical incident.

Most of the satellites that power the Galileo system are broken, leading to a service outage across the positioning system.

It means that users will have to automatically switch over to the US Global Positioning System that it was intended to replace.

But enough of the service is working that it will still be able to find people in emergencies, one of its key roles.

Experts are working to restore operations of the multibillion euro programme, the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA) said on Sunday.

Galileo began testing in December 2016 as an alternative to the US-made Global Positioning System (GPS), designed to provide an exact location to commercial and government customers, with a full deployment expected in 2020.

The agency's status page shows 22 satellites in the Galileo constellation as "not usable" due to service outage.

"The cause of the technical incident is identified and recovery actions are implemented to ensure that the nominal service is resumed as soon as possible while safeguarding quality of the services," the GSA said.

In November, Britain gave up on efforts to gain access to the EU's Galileo satellite navigation system for defence and critical national infrastructure purposes, after being frozen out by Brussels because of Brexit.

It is unclear whether the UK will get back the £1.2 billion it sank into Galileo.

Instead, it is aiming to build its own Global Navigation Satellite System, at a cost estimated by independent experts at £3 billion to £5 billion.

Additional reporting by agencies

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in