Galileo picks itself up and moves on

July 18, 2019  - By
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Galileo Ground Control Center, Fucino. Photo: GSA

Galileo Ground Control Center, Fucino. Photo: GSA

Galileo Initial Services have been restored after a week-long signal outage, according to a statement released on July 18 by the European GNSS Agency (GSA).

“Commercial users can already see signs of recovery of the Galileo navigation and timing services…although some fluctuations may be experienced until further notice.”

After a signal outage that began on July 11, efforts to restore services reportedly found a malfunction in the calculation of time and orbit predictions (ephemeris).

Why the error affected both Precise Timing Facilities (PTFs) within the Galileo ground control system, at Fucino in Italy and Oberpfaffenhoffen in Germany, has not been explained. System redundancy in the form of such doubled facilities was meant to prevent such breakdowns.

The GSA statement continues:

“Galileo Initial Services have now been restored. Commercial users can already see signs of recovery of the Galileo navigation and timing services, although some fluctuations may be experienced until further notice.

“The technical incident originated by an equipment malfunction in the Galileo ground infrastructure, affecting the calculation of time and orbit predictions, and which are used to compute the navigation message. The malfunction affected different elements on the ground facilities.

“A team composed of GSA experts, industry, ESA and Commission, worked together 24/7 to address the incident. The team is monitoring the quality of Galileo services to restore Galileo timing and navigation services at their nominal levels.

“We will set an Independent Inquiry Board to identify the root causes of the major incident. This will allow the Commission, as the programme manager, together with the EU Agency GSA to draw lessons for the management of an operational system with several millions of users worldwide.”

The full statement, including links to previously issued Notice Advisories to Galileo Users (NAGUs) is available here on the GSA website.

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Alan Cameron is the former editor-at-large of GPS World magazine.

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