THE EU OWN-BRAND OF GPS system, Galileo, has been suffering an outage since Friday.
At the time of writing, 22 of the 26 satellites are marked with the words "service outage", and 24 have the words "not usable". The remaining two are listed as "testing", which also doesn't sound hugely helpful.
On day three of the outage, Galileo finally acknowledged the problem, calling it a "technical incident related to its ground infrastructure."
"The incident has led to a temporary interruption of the Galileo initial navigation and timing services, with the exception of the Galileo Search and Rescue (SAR) service," it continued. "The SAR service - used for locating and helping people in distress situations for example at sea or mountains - is unaffected and remains operational."
That's not very clear, but one source told specialist sat-nav publication Inside GNSS that it's to do with the Precise Timing Facility (PTF) in Italy. That would certainly cause problems, given its whole purpose is to generate a reference time to match every clock in the Galileo system. It wouldn't be the first time that time has been a factor with sat-nav either - earlier in the year, there were worries about GPS having severe problems because the calendar was due to reset.
The good news is that there are people on the case. "Experts are working to restore the situation as soon as possible," the Galileo note added. "An Anomaly Review Board has been immediately set up to analyse the exact root cause and to implement recovery actions."
Just think: we'll have these little hiccups to look forward to when we leave the EU and make our own sat-nav system. For reference, Galileo was in development for 17 years before launching in December 2016. What could possibly go wrong with a quickly knocked-out British alternative? µ
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