back to article They're alive! Galileo sats 9 and 10 sending valid signals

Two more satellites in Europe's Galileo satellite navigation swarm are up and running, so to speak. The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced that the ninth and tenth satellites in the planned 30-bird fleet started sending “valid navigation signals” as of January 29th. Galileo's eleventh and twelfth satellites are also …

  1. Mage Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Some folks might criticize cost, but ...

    This is good. Do we want Sat nav that depends on good will of Russian and American presidents/military? (Putin & Trump or Clinton? Or maybe even Palin in 5 years! Well, probably not Palin or Trump).

    I think cruise missiles (Russian or USA) can use inertial navigation and maps, as can ICBMs. I think a cruise missile can carry a nuke?

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Some folks might criticize cost, but ...

      Cruise missiles can carry nukes and use inertial navigation and maps, but GPS is much, much more accurate. Which is why it was developed.

      If your cruise missile has to travel over land for some distance during the winter in regions like Siberia, (radar) maps won't work that well because snow and wind are constantly changeing the ground profile.

      Early ICBMs had basically a hardcoded flight profile and had to be launched from a precise location to make that work. Easy on land, tricky from a submerged submarine.

      One of the reasons for developing multi-megaton hydrogen bombs was the poor accuracy of ICBMs - if the bang is big enough, targeting doesn't have to be that neat.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: but GPS is much, much more accurate

        It can be jammed or spoofed, so perhaps now more use as a civilian tool?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Some folks might criticize cost, but ...

        One of the reasons for developing multi-megaton hydrogen bombs was the poor accuracy of ICBMs - if the bang is big enough, targeting doesn't have to be that neat.

        I find the same tactic useful when breaking wind after a night of beer and pickled eggs.

    2. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Some folks might criticize cost, but ...

      The advantage of using satnav for nuclear missiles is that they all end up wedged under a low bridge in a small west country village, thus averting any risk of nuclear war.

      "It can be jammed or spoofed, so perhaps now more use as a civilian tool?"

      Sadly, that's actually why phones and the like are mostly not compatible with GPS and Galileo - the US military wanted to be able to jam Galileo without disrupting their own system, and they forced the EU to use a different frequency to make this possible. So now you need a different receiver for each system, which obviously adds to the cost and complexity. Dedicated satnav systems, emergency beacons, and similar may use multiple systems, but there's little justification for the extra cost for a phone.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Some folks might criticize cost, but ...

        the US military wanted to be able to jam Galileo without disrupting their own system, and they forced the EU to use a different frequency to make this possible.

        Those idiots forgot that it also works the other way. By insisting GPS be on separate frequencies, it makes targeting an individual country's GPS easier. If Russia, for example, wanted to launch, they could jam the US/Galileo/etc. while leaving their own operational. It would be better if all used the same frequencies since you couldn't jam X without jamming your own.

  2. ad47uk

    So Galileo may be up and running in the next 50 years, but by that time the first satellites will be out dated and nearing the end of their time. i will be dead by the time this system is launched and thenh the new devices have to be set up to deal with it.

    Not that I use GPS, the GPS on my phone is disabled..

    1. DaveyDaveDave

      "I'm angry because something I don't understand might not be ready for me to not use"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        "I'm angry because something I don't understand might not be ready in a made up timescale for me to not use"

        FTFY

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I'm angry because EUROPE. My mate Nigel in the yellow and purple told me to think that.

      2. noominy.noom

        @DaveyDaveDave.

        You owe me a keyboard.

        1. Captain DaFt

          "@DaveyDaveDave.

          You owe me a keyboard."

          I learned long ago to avoid reading comments in El Reg while eating/drinking. Cuts way down on the mess.

  3. getHandle

    "Navigation package installation complete"

    "Press any key to continue..."

  4. x 7

    so does the GPS on my phone, and my old satnav, know about this?

    1. Francis Boyle

      The answer to that question

      Is probably the same as to "do you intend to keep the same phone for the next 12 years".

      1. Sam 15

        Re: The answer to that question

        "The answer to that question

        Is probably the same as to "do you intend to keep the same phone for the next 12 years".

        <Checks date of manufacture of phone - 2003>

        Hmm.

        Not sure.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      GPS

      Gallileo supposedly uses a format compatible with NavStar.

      Your old phone/GPS probably won't work with Glonass or Beidou(Compass) and almost certainly won't work with IRNSS, QZSS, the upcoming French system(*) or any of the augmentation systems using ground-based repeaters.

      (*) Yes, the french are insisting on having their own independent GPS system, in addition to having fingers in the Gallileo pie.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        Re: GPS

        "the french are insisting on having their own independent GPS system"

        When you ask it where you are, it just shrugs

      2. JamesPond

        Re: GPS

        My Garmin cycle GPS uses, well, GPS, but can also pick up Glonass signals which make it more accurate, but battery life drops significantly when both systems are turned on (it's either GPS or GPS and Glonass, not Glonass on its own).

      3. phuzz Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: GPS

        "Yes, the french are insisting on having their own independent GPS system"

        It will deliberately send you on a detour so it's got more time to finish shagging your other-half.

      4. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: GPS

        Actually most modern phones do work with GLONASS. The Android "GPS Status" app displays GPS satellites as round dots and GLONASS satellites as square dots on the satellite position tracking display.

  5. kmac499

    Clock Sovereignity

    Wasn't there a report a couple of days ago about UK DAB radio transmitters going a little haywire because. The USA decommissioned one of their GPS satellites which casued a minor loss of sync between the rest of the constellation.

    Maybe no bad thing that there is a bit of redundancy in such a vital resource.

    1. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: Clock Sovereignity

      For $1500+/- in parts, the designer could have included a Chip-Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC). And there are plenty of other approaches to avoiding such problems.

      Design failure if a decision in Colorado leads to a system screwing up in Blighty.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Clock Sovereignity

        But do we care about DAB? A system that increases Listener power consumption by x5 to x20 compared to FM, less than FM quality and can even be worse distortion than a good AM signal. Needs 700 fill in transmitters in UK to give FM coverage too.

        DAB also for local / community radio is more expensive and gives too much coverage. Local stations can't use a SFN mux either.

        Some DTT SFN and Mobile bases may also stupidly use GPS to save a bit of money (£8000) at install time years ago (yes it's about £1100 now but was more then).

        1. Mike Banahan

          Re: Clock Sovereignity / FM Radio power consumption

          Sadly, as far as I can see, modern portable radios have now started using DSP chips to receive FM with a corresponding increase in power consumption. Not something that the manufacturers like to shout about. If you try to buy parts to build your own old-fashioned analogue FM receiver, the components seem to have disappeared from the supply chain.

          I heard one apologist being interviewed trumpeting that 'modern radios use no more power for DAB reception than for FM' which whilst technically probably true, was highly deceptive in purpose.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Clock Sovereignity

      "Maybe no bad thing that there is a bit of redundancy in such a vital resource."

      Quite.

      39. There is a difference between spare parts and extra [parts].

      (from: The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries)

    3. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: Clock Sovereignity

      A later story clarifies that GPS Time itself was slipped by 13 us due to some errors back at GPS HQ.

      In that case, I withdraw my previous suggestion (just above). If the GPS Time signal is present, then it is not unreasonable to assume that it's 'the' standard.

      Even if you had a local atomic clock for comparison, one would naturally assume that the local clock had gone haywire before you'd assume that the GPS Time had glitched.

      The only exception would be if one had an array of atomic clocks (like at a National Lab); then one might be able to make the correction assumption.

  6. Tempest
    WTF?

    Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system is subject to US control - or a bomb

    "According to a leaked US Air Force document written in 2004 August and obtained by The Business, Peter Teets, under-secretary of the US Air Force wrote: "What will we do 10 years from now when American lives are put at risk because an adversary chooses to leverage the global positioning system of perhaps the Galileo constellation to attack American forces with precision?"

    "The paper also reported a disagreement between EU and US officials this month over Galileo at a London conference which led to the threat to blow up the future satellites.

    "The European delegates reportedly said they would not turn off or jam signals from their satellites, even if they were used in a war with the United States.

    "They made it clear that they would attempt what they called reversible action, but, if necessary, they would use irreversible action," the official was quoted as saying. (AFP. 2004 October 24)

    Ar*eholes!

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system is subject to US control - or a bomb

      Well, the problem isn't just with Galileo anymore. The more GPS types up there, the tougher it will be to figure out which one is the guidance platform for incoming missiles.

      .

  7. Stevie

    Bah!

    Yesyesyesyesyes, evil American GPS blahblahblah.

    But consider: Do you really want your car's positional information supplied in hogsheads per square newton or its speed quoted in millilitres?

    I urge all European navigators to reject this so-called "Galileo" thingumy and use goodole-yankee feet'n'inches GPS.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Bah!

      Would that be the inches that are now officially defined as being 25.4 mm?

      1. JJKing
        Facepalm

        Re: Bah!

        "Would that be the inches that are now officially defined as being 25.4 mm?"

        Nah, that would be the one defined as 2.54cm.

      2. Stevie

        Re: Inches defined in centimetres

        Only where you live, Mr Needs-units-that-divide-by-ten-cos-they-don't-teach-proper-arithmetic-in-UK-schools.

        If you're gonna try twsting the knife in my body, you'll need to do so in foot-pounds. 8op 8ob 8op 8o)

    2. Clive Harris

      Re: Use Planck dimensions

      The only proper dimensions to use are Planck dimensions since, with a few exceptions, they represent the extremes of what is measurable.

      Planck Length = shortest length which has any meaning

      Planck Time = shortest time period which has any meaning.

      Plank Temperature = as hot as anything is ever likely to get

      etc..etc

      Of course, we'd have to get used to putting around 30 or 40 zeroes after everything, but at least it would get rid of the metric/imperial debate.

      I'd love to go to my local builder's merchant and order a plank in Planck lengths.

      Incidentally, the Plank energy (the energy content of a black hole that's one Planck length across) is roughly equal to ten gallons of petrol. I suppose that means my car has a "Planck tank".

      1. Stevie

        Re: Use Planck dimensions

        Perfectly acceptable provded you express the Plank length in fractions of an inch.

        1. x 7

          Re: Use Planck dimensions

          according to my father, width was always measured in short planks

          as in "you're as thick as a short plank..."

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