Galileo Suffers Unexpected Signal Outage

On Thursday, July 11th, at 1:00 p.m. Central European Time, Galileo, the European Union’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), unexpectedly stopped working, issuing a Notice Advice to Galileo Users (NAGU) that stated:

“Until further notice, users may experience service degradation on all Galileo satellites. This means that the signals may not be available nor meet the minimum performance levels defined in the service definition documents and should be employed at users’ own risk. The nominal service will be resumed as soon as possible.” 

According to the European GNSS Agency (GSA), the cause of the signal outage was recently determined to be a problem with the system’s ground infrastructure, and as of July 13th, 22 Galileo satellites have been listed as “not usable.”  So far, it has not been determined when Galileo’s signal outage will end.

First launched in 2011, Galileo provides signals to European users who, before its introduction, relied on the United States’ Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS).

Galileo offers Europe a variety of advantages, including critical, emergency-response services, safer and more efficient roads and railways, more job opportunities, and environmental benefits. Galileo is also a civilian-run system, providing equal support to civilians, government, and military. In addition to these benefits, Galileo offers Europe independence from U.S. and Russia, providing control over their GNSS signals.

According to the GSA, Galileo is currently in its initial services phase; therefore, its signals are used in combination with other GNSS signals. For this reason, European users are not out of luck and can still access these signals—which is vital for both civilian, government, and military users.

Millions of people rely on GPS/GNSS signals for everyday tasks. The average citizen uses GPS/GNSS signals to navigate their automobile, access emergency roadside support, and find local shops and restaurants. But these signals provide more than just geographic information.

The finance sector uses these signals to timestamp financial transactions; power grids rely on time synchronization for energy measurements; and farmers use GPS signals for precision plowing and relaying boundary information. If these signals were to be disrupted for any reason—a denial of service attack, jamming, or spoofing—these sectors would lose access to valuable information and resources, and many of this information would be compromised.  

Thus, it is imperative to use a backup for any GPS/GNSS system. At Satelles, we provide Satellite Time and Location (STL) signals, which serve as a backup for when GPS signals fail. Our STL signals, which originate from Iridium satellites, are exceedingly difficult to jam or spoof and provide a safe and robust solution to GPS signal disruption. Best of all, Satelles STL is available now!

Sources: https://www.gpsworld.com/galileo-down-over-weekend/ , https://www.gpsworld.com/galileos-initial-services-rocky-patch-continues/