Galileo goes live
Today, 15 December 2016, sees Galileo offering its initial services to public authorities, businesses and citizens.
In the words of the European Commission: 'The Declaration of Galileo Initial Services means that the Galileo satellites and ground infrastructure are now operationally ready. These signals will be highly accurate but not available all the time. That's why during the initial phase, the first Galileo signals will be used in combination with other satellite navigation systems, like GPS.'
Initial Services will support:
- Emergency operations: a distress call from a Galileo-enabled beacon should have detection time reduced to 10 minutes; this service should be later improved by notifying the beacon that it has been located and help is underway.
- More accurate navigation: the Open Service (OS) will offer a free mass-market service for positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) that can be used by Galileo-enabled chipsets in smartphones and car navigation systems. This will be particularly useful in urban canyons, with restricted view of the sky.
- Better time synchronisation for critical infrastructure: through high precision clocks, it will enable more resilient time synchronisation of banking and financial transactions, telecommunications and energy distribution networks such as smart-grids.
- Secure services for public authorities: the likes of civil protection and humanitarian aid services, customs officers and police will benefit from the Public Regulated Service (PRS), offering a particularly robust and fully encrypted service for government users during national emergencies or crisis situations.
There are 18 Galileo satellites now in orbit, but not all are operational:
- 11 available
- 1 not available (never will be)
- 2 under testing (incorrect orbits)
- 4 under commissioning (launched on 17 November)
The constellation requires 24 satellites for Full Operational Capability (FOC): this should be reached by 2020, with 18 operational spacecraft and 6 in-orbit spares.
Further details from the links below . .