GPS rival Galileo down for four days ... and counting - TechCentral

GPS rival Galileo down for four days … and counting

The EU’s Galileo satellite navigation system has been down for four days as a result of a technical incident on the ground.

The majority of satellites in the Galileo constellation have suffered a service outage since Friday, though its ability to locate and help people in distress situations is unaffected.

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.

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