back to article Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico

Relevant Youtube video is relevant The European Space Agency has launched the fifth and sixth Galileo satellites from its launch pad in French Guiana. The boffins are now increasing the frequency of launches to get the entire network of 30 orbital birds ready by 2017 – three years early. The latest sats were launched on …

  1. Daniel B.

    Oh dear

    Was it just me, or did everyone read that headline singing?

  2. alwarming

    "I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me."

    But at least I can find a waaaay... to ESAAAAAAA..... GPS bayyyyy 2017eeen

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Re: The good news, of course, being...

      GPS (and Gallileo) receivers are purely passive devices. They receive signals from a number of satellites and use those to calculate their position. They transmit nothing. The only way for someone to track you is to have something else that then transmits the coordinates that the GPS receiver calculated (or if you forgot your aluminium foil hat; by reading your mind).

      1. stizzleswick

        Re: The good news, of course, being...

        Where you're right, you're right. Hence, I have withdrawn my earlier post, though it was not meant completely seriously. Should have used a more appropriate icon, maybe :P

      2. galileo-insider

        Re: The good news, of course, being...

        That's only half of the truth. As Galileo supports SoL (Safety of Life) and CS (Commercial Services) it also supports two way traffic. So it all depends on which kind of device you are having.

    2. Andrew Jones 2

      Re: The good news, of course, being...

      @stizzleswick Not sure if serious or not -

      but being the internet I figure it's best to be certain so here goes -

      GPS regardless of what country is launching it - is a purely one-way affair, phones, car navigation or other GPS devices cannot send data back to the satellite. The only way you can be tracked via GPS is if your device uses another method (eg Cellular) to communicate it's position once it has located it's position via GPS.

    3. Charles Manning

      Re: The good news, of course, being...

      Please send me your snail mail address. I will send you a few rolls of tinfoil.

      As others have said, GPS, and GNSS in general, are passive. Untrackable.

      Your cellphone is trackable, with our without GPS or any other GNSS.

      In general, you do not need another antenna to track Galileo. The frequency is close enough to GPS that a single antenna and front end will work for both.

  4. Lars Silver badge

    Yes, yes, but

    "provides a valuable insurance system if the US-controlled GPS network ever gets shut down for any reason". Yes, yes, but it is also about having the technology, a industry capable of producing something. We don't produce aeroplanes and cars in Europe because we are affraid the USA would stop exporting them. Rather call it sound competition.

    Still it's quite a political soap opera, quoting the Wikipedia.

    "Since Galileo was designed to provide the highest possible precision (greater than GPS) to anyone, the US was concerned that an enemy could use Galileo signals in military strikes against the US and its allies (some weapons like missiles use GNSS systems for guidance). The frequency initially chosen for Galileo would have made it impossible for the US to block the Galileo signals without also interfering with their own GPS signals. The US did not want to lose their GNSS capability with GPS while denying enemies the use of GNSS. Some US officials became especially concerned when Chinese interest in Galileo was reported.[46]

    An anonymous EU official claimed that the US officials implied that they might consider shooting down Galileo satellites in the event of a major conflict in which Galileo was used in attacks against American forces.[47] The EU's stance is that Galileo is a neutral technology, available to all countries and everyone. At first, EU officials did not want to change their original plans for Galileo, but have since reached a compromise, that Galileo was to use a different frequency. This allowed the blocking or jamming of either GNSS system without affecting the other (jam Galileo without affecting GPS, or jam GPS but not Galileo), giving the US a greater advantage in conflicts in which it has the electronic warfare upper hand.

    1. Charles Manning

      Re: Yes, yes, but

      Since satellites from multiple constellations can be used in one fix, they actually augment eachother.

      It is possible that you don't have enough GPS or Galileo satellites in view to make a fix from one sert alone, but together you have enough. Or, even if you have enough for a rix, then adding more gives you a better fix.

    2. Aslan

      Re: Yes, yes, but

      Thanks for the most excellent comment. Agreed. Except that it's good to have more positioning satellites in orbit period. For several years consumer receivers such as the Samsung Galaxy have been able to use GPS and Glosnas for a position fix.

      My comment was originally going to be the proliferation of GPS systems merely means more targets for the USA to hit if there's ever a serious conflict.

      Old hardware in space is fun. Nasa's Deep Space Network is still out there doing a ton of useful work. Remember the Iridium bankruptcy? A fleet of dozens of satellites in orbit shutdown waiting for one guy with the keys to reactivate it. The Iridium network sold for $10 million USD. Admittedly to a USA approved company as our Nuke subs were using it for coms. Wouldn't it have been amazing though to own a satellite constellation for only $10 million USD? If I had a billion dollars I simply couldn't say no to that. One day I hope to make it to orbit myself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yes, yes, but

        1. The NASA Deep Space Network is a ground-based communications network for communicating with satellites and spacecraft, not "hardware in space".

        2. The Iridium satellites remained operational when the company went into Chapter 11; they weren't in some dormant state waiting for someone to come along with the right keys to wake them up.

        3. Just about the only part of the US military that doesn't use Iridium is the nuclear submarine fleet; at the frequencies and power levels Iridium uses you can barely use it through a glass window, let alone underwater.

        4. Along with the satellites comes the obligation to safely deorbit them at the end off their lives. You might need to stake rather more than $10m to persuade anyone that you could do that.

        Other than that, great post, very informative.

        1. Aslan

          Re: Yes, yes, but

          1. You're correct. What I was thinking of was the USA's TDRSS a network currently of 7 satellites in geosynchronous orbit first with the first satellites launched in 1983 aboard challenger. There's somewhere between 3 official 7-8+ total ground stations for the network. It exists to provide data relay for satellites and manned space missions so that a large network of ground stations isn't necessary. (IE in a 90 minute orbit a ground station would only be able to see the satellite for 15 minutes) I've a friend who got to fly some hardware that used the network.

 explains it best, and

 is the article that most of that info should be in.

          2. Friday 03/17/2000 "The satellite network was to shut down at midnight Friday, after last-ditch searches failed to find a qualified buyer to save the struggling system."

          However it appears the network wasn't entirely shut down as stated in the previous article,

          I read the story at the time that said the network was shut down and one man had the keys to bring it back online, but I can't find that story at the moment. I know I have it in my archive of paper magazines. Here's an article on Iridium being purchased, it was for $25 million and the company, Landmark Communications, planned to spend $7 million a month to maintain it.

          3. The above link states there were military contracts in place in 2000. Further

          "A funding request from the Navy calls for acceleration of key submarine communications programs by two years, fiscal year 2007 rather than 2009. Innovative technologies for speeding up submarine communications include the acoustic-to-radio-frequency gateway buoy, a tethered Iridium two-way expendable buoy, an Iridium-based BRT-6 follow-on one-way buoy and a tethered ultrahigh frequency (UHF) satellite communications expendable buoy."

          Then there's the usual logic of if the public knew about it in 2005 the capability may well have already existed as a classified project and the money to "develop" the project may simply have been rolled back into other black projects.

          4. If you're important enough you can always get the money from Uncle Sam. Iridium was and is that kind of important.

  5. Charles Manning

    "EU GPS"

    Saying Galileo GPS is like saying Dyson Hoover.

    The generic term for sateliite nav systems is Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).

    There are many such systems: GPS, Galileo, GLONAS and Beidou.

    Some receivers can receive signals from more than one of these.

    Some receivers can even use satellites from multiple systems in a single position solution, but one satellite from each extra set is required to fix the clock, roughly speaking.

    ie. a position calculated from 5 GPS and 3 Galileo satellites is more or less equivalent to a position calculated using 7 GPS satellites.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      I respectfully disagree

      There are now two GPS providers to choose from, the US one and Galileo.

      Saying Galileo GPS is thus specifying which one you're talking about, which can be useful if you need to be precise. We're going to have to find a name for the US one.

  6. Irony Deficient

    the Galileo testing facility in Redu, Belgium

    — almost an example of nominative determinism to an anglophone.

  7. Christian Berger

    The goal has already been reached years ago

    The goal was to have independent systems apart from GPS. Because of political problems, Galileo will never operate without the consent of the US. That's why Galileo cannot do this directly...

    However the announcement of Galileo has prompted other countries to start their own, truly independent, systems. Glonass is just one example. In fact many "smart" phones already have combined GPS Glonass receivers.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In your wallet....

    This is about having sufficiently strong GPS signals to support road pricing, which EU greens want to impose on us.

  10. Rizzla, Kourou, we have a problem

    It looks like the Russian rocket failed to put the satellites in the right orbit! Buy cheap, pay twice.

    Or, was it a sanctions affected version?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    The Russians...

    The Russians should have just named their system GONADS...

  12. Neil C Burns

    Galileo satellites go into wrong, lower orbit - Esa

    maybe they should have used gps......


    Galileo satellites go into wrong, lower orbit - Esa

    1. Forget It

      Re: Galileo satellites go into wrong, lower orbit - Esa

      Conspiracy theorists

      ready steady go....

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