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The European GPS System, Galileo, suffering major signal outage.

On Thursday, July 11th, the entire European GPS System Galileo started suffering an unanticipated signal outage. The signal outage is attributed to the problem of the ground infrastructure of the Galileo system. The European GNSS Agency (GSA) made an announcement on Monday related to this ongoing signal outage: “Experts are working to restore the situation as soon as possible. An Anomaly Review Board has been immediately set up to analyze the exact root cause and to implement recovery actions. 

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) has not made an announcement up till now about the resumption time of services. The last announcement made by the GSA indicates the initial service phase of Galileo, in which signals are available for use in combination with other GNSS, which will help in the detection of technical issues before the system becomes fully operational and does not provide a complete solution in and of themselves. 

According to private GPS provider firm Novatel, there is a defined maximum age of ephemeris for each constellation which is deemed to be valid. Once an ephemeris is too old, the receiver will not consider it valid.  Measurements made to satellites without a valid ephemeris are not included in the position solution. Once the Galileo service returns to normal and transmits ephemeris information, the receivers will be reverted to the normal operation.

Due to this Galileo signal outage issue, all the receivers such as the latest smartphone models, will not be able to pick up any useable timing or positional information. Instead, these devices will be relying on the data coming from the American Global Positioning System (GPS). Depending on the sat-nav chip installed on the receivers, cell phones, and other devices might also be able to make connections with the Russian (Glonass) and Chinese (Beidou) networks.

 

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