Galileo resumes its Services
The Initial Services provided by the European satellite navigation system – Galileo –, serviced and operated by Spaceopal, have been successfully restored. Galileo was affected by a technical incident related to its ground infrastructure occurred 10th July 2019. This event led to a temporary interruption of the globally-available Galileo navigation and timing services, with the exception of the Galileo Search and Rescue Service. The Search and Rescue Service, which is used to locate and assist people in emergency situations, for example, at sea or in remote, mountainous areas, was not affected and remained operational. The navigation and timing service impact was caused by a malfunction of some equipment in the Galileo control centers, which generate the system time and calculate orbit predictions; these data are used to produce the navigation messages. The disruption affected various elements at both the control centres in Fucino (Italy) and Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany).
A team of experts from the Galileo Service Operator, led by Spaceopal GmbH, worked as quickly as possible and in close cooperation with the European GNSS Agency (GSA) as well as the industrial ground infrastructure providers together with the European Space Agency (ESA) to fix the malfunction. Due to the high technical complexity of the system and the in depth analysis of the fault dependencies, these efforts took several days before the resumption of Initial Services on 18th July 2018.
An independent board of inquiry is now investigating the exact circumstances and root causes that led to the failure. The investigation is being conducted by the EU Commission and the GSA, the authorities that manage the programme, in order to continuously improve the system during its service phases.
Galileo has been offering its Initial Service since December 2016. During this initial ‘pilot’ phase, which precedes the ‘full-operational services’ phase, Galileo signals are being used also in combination with those from other satellite navigation systems, allowing testing and the detection of potential technical challenges during the commissioning of the system until full deployment and operational capability has been reached.