European Union satellite system temporarily offline

16 Juillet, 2019, 13:40 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Galileo

On that day, the GSA published an advisory on its website alerting companies and government agencies employing the Galileo system that satellite signals have degraded and they "may not be available nor meet the minimum performance levels".

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) said that said that Galileo was suffering from a full system outage due to a "technical incident related to its ground infrastructure". The issue relates to all servers, including the latest smartphone devices, not being able to pick up any useable timing or positional information.

The network of positioning satellites provides "initial service" to cellphones (including some iPhones) and other devices in the EU. Some phones might also be relying on connections with the Russian (Glonass) and Chinese (Beidou) networks - depending on the sat-nav chip they have installed.

Until further notices, users may experience service degradation on all Galileo satellites. In an update posted last night, it said experts were 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", it added.

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"As far as I know, it is a problem of the PTF [Precise Timing Facility] in Italy - time has an impact on the whole constellation", a source close to the program told Inside GNSS. That would certainly cause problems, given its whole objective is to generate a reference time to match every clock in the Galileo system. The search-and-rescue portion of Galileo remains functional.

However, the outage is an embarrassing hitch for the European Space Agency and European Commission project that is going three times above its €3 billion projected budget. All Galileo satellites are still non-operational, at the time of writing.

An outage across the entire Galileo network is therefore a matter of significant concern and no small embarrassment to the trading bloc.

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