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Space Science

Second Galileo Test Satellite Now in Orbit 157

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the still-plugging-away dept.
Simon (S2) writes to mention that Europe's second Galileo navigation satellite reached orbit this past weekend. Galileo is promising to offer several technological advances in comparison to the US-based GPS system but no longer promises to be a guaranteed service. "The Galileo programme now seems certain to go ahead, after a prolonged and painful shift from partly-private financing of the construction to public funds taken from unspent EU farm subsidies. This money would normally have been returned to donor nations, with the UK, Germany and the Netherlands as the biggest three. London MPs have expressed doubt as to whether the UK will receive value for the money it will pay, but have acknowledged that the British government doesn't actually have any choice about Galileo under EU funding rules."
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Second Galileo Test Satellite Now in Orbit

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  • Two?!!? (Score:5, Funny)

    by ArcherB (796902) on Monday April 28, 2008 @03:41PM (#23229410) Journal
    Wow! They are up to two satellites? Does this mean I can tell which hemisphere I'm on?

    • Re:Two?!!? (Score:4, Funny)

      by mangamuscle (706696) on Monday April 28, 2008 @03:51PM (#23229518)
      It all depends, if you are an US Citizen it would be a moot point since you would not recognize any geographical location outside your backyard.
      • Re:Two?!!? (Score:5, Funny)

        by ArcherB (796902) on Monday April 28, 2008 @04:03PM (#23229672) Journal

        It all depends, if you are an US Citizen it would be a moot point since you would not recognize any geographical location outside your backyard.
        My backyard? You mean Canada?
        • Re:Two?!!? (Score:4, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2008 @04:12PM (#23229796)

          It all depends, if you are an US Citizen it would be a moot point since you would not recognize any geographical location outside your backyard.
          My backyard? You mean Canada?

          Nope. Canada is our front yard, with well trimmed grass and a white picket fence; the back yard, where the septic tank and broken down cars are located is in the other direction./p.

          • Re:Two?!!? (Score:5, Funny)

            by pjt33 (739471) on Monday April 28, 2008 @05:36PM (#23230724)
            Texas?
        • by Chrisje (471362)
          Suddenly I understand how come the USA, whose population is roughly 4.5% of the World Population, houses approximately 25% of the world's prisoners.
          • >>>"unspent EU farm subsidies. This money would normally have been returned to donor nations"

            So the E.U. misappropriated funds that were intended to help farmers, and instead spent it on shiny-new space toys... er, satellites. How nice. Reminds me of how the U.S. Congress works: Collecting money for the poor, and then using it to study butterflies or plant flowers along I-95 instead.

            Congratulations... your E.U. Parliament is looking more and more like our U.S. Congress every day. Wait another tw
      • Re:Two?!!? (Score:4, Funny)

        by jbeaupre (752124) on Monday April 28, 2008 @04:06PM (#23229694)
        Give us some credit. We most certainly do recognize locations outside our backyard. "Overthere" is a well recognized location. But my memory fails me trying to remember some of the other well known places.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by moosesocks (264553)
        Honestly, I'm beginning to grow tired of the amount of US-bashing that goes on.

        I'm none too proud of the actions of my country over the past decade, although the ongoing tirade of jokes about fat, ignorant Americans is beginning to wear on me, and could very well be construed as outright racist.

        Keep it up, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy (to the point where students often make jokes about their own ignorance of world issues).

        Stop making jokes, and start trying to clean up the mess.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Nursie (632944)
          Hey, from my experience of the internets, you guys have stereotyped put-downs for any given nationality, so suck it up for once.
          • I'd be modded in oblivion if I made those sort of remarks about Africans or Jews.

            It's one thing to make fun of a stereotype (risqué humor), but it becomes something entirely different once you start to take those jokes in stride.

            The most worrying thing is that the jokes seem to be propagated mostly by Americans themselves.... THIS IS THE FAILURE OF YOUR CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION. IT IS NOT SOMETHING TO JOKE [youtube.com] ABOUT.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Nursie (632944)
              Perhaps so. But not if you said the British have bad teeth and worse food or that the French are cheese-eating communist cowards that smell bad.

              There are many stereotypes, most of them undeserved, and they get thrown around all the time.
        • by CmdrGravy (645153)
          Crumbs, these Americans are a right bunch of whingers.
        • by mollymoo (202721) *

          I'm none too proud of the actions of my country over the past decade, although the ongoing tirade of jokes about fat, ignorant Americans is beginning to wear on me, and could very well be construed as outright racist.

          It's not racist because USians aren't a race. Tick ignorant. So, how much do you weigh?

          • So if I say Brits are arrogant bastards, that's not a racist insult to people from Britannia?

            • by mollymoo (202721) *
              No, it would be xenophobia, or xeno-something-i-can't-be-arsed-to-look-up. It's not possible to make a racist comment about the British as a whole, because we're fairly racially diverse. It's also not possible to make a racist comment about the majority Caucasian population without including most of Europe and the US, because most of them are Caucasian too. On the whole, we are a pretty arrogant bunch - the empire, industrial revolution and WWII are sources of more pride than is perhaps healthy. And we do h
        • Stop making jokes, and start trying to clean up the mess.

          I was told some years ago that the majority of the people in the US thought it was perfectly okay for the US to... try to 'improve' other nations in various ways. I'm not sure if you're one of them, but I can say that most people in Europe at least respect the sovereignty of contries. Basically, what sovereignty means is that the ruling body of a nation alone determines what goes on in that country, ideally because that ruling body represents the sum-total will of the people.

          In applying this to the USA, we

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Zerth (26112)
      Even better, they can tell in which of 4 possible locations on the earth you are!

      You're either in sight of satellite A, B, both, or neither.

      That really narrows it down!

      Of course for the case of both, you are probably already in orbit, so that really doesn't count as "on earth".

      Lets stick with three then. We can claim a 50% improvement on the number of locations you could be in over the previous 2(can see satellite/can't see satellite).

      Whew, and I'm spent. Good job.
    • Re:Two?!!? (Score:5, Funny)

      by fred fleenblat (463628) on Monday April 28, 2008 @04:05PM (#23229688) Homepage
      You are misinformed. The galileo satellites are the first of a new breed of reverse GPS. Using your known location on earth, the satellite(s) triangulate THEIR location and consult an on-board map of turn-by-turn directions so that they can find nearby gas stations, restaurants, and space stations. It's the first step in establishing a network of McDonalds in orbit, a necessity before space colonization can begin.
  • London MPs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MythMoth (73648) on Monday April 28, 2008 @03:47PM (#23229474) Homepage
    Why London's MPs? What's so special about them?

    There are 645 MPs in the UK, of which only 74 are in London. Quite why they should be supposed to have some special insight into Galileo or farming subsidies is beyond me.
    • Ssh (Score:3, Funny)

      by pjt33 (739471)

      Simple: as far as English politics is concerned (and UK politics to a lesser extent), once you pass outside the M25 you enter a deserted wasteland which extends as far as the Channel, the North Sea and the Irish Sea (or possibly the Atlantic, but no Londoner has ever travelled that far to check).

      On the other hand, I wouldn't tell them. Just keep quiet and maybe they won't interfere with your life too much.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mikael (484)
        I remember reading in the "Three Of a Kind" annual (with Lenny Henry), a Londoners freeway map of the UK. It was quite simple. It read:

        Scotland
        |
        |
        | M1 (The North ^)
        |
        London

        There was nothing between London and Scotland except for the narrow strip of the M1.
      • by MythMoth (73648)
        You're telling me there's stuff outside zone 3?
    • by Nursie (632944)
      Simple, as far as anyone is concerned, London is pretty much all there is of worth in the UK. Sure, much of the rest is nice to look at but it tends to be populated by inbreds and supported by the immense amounts of cash flowing from the city.
    • by MythMoth (73648)
      And to answer my own question, I asked Lewis Page by email, and in fact it was the MPs on the transport committee. In his own words: "Perhaps I should have said Westminster MPs. I was just trying to avoid too many uses of UK, British etc." Fair enough.
    • For some reason, it's a common habit among some people to use the name of a nation's capital to refer to the government or part of the government of said country. Thus, you'll see "Washington has stepped up inspection of cargo" used instead of a more accurate yet clumsy "The US Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Boarder Protection has stepped up inspection of cargo."
  • So, pretty soon we will have three "gps" major systems out there. But hey, China still does not have one - so #4, here we come...

    Its so sad that it is necessary to have that many systems doing pretty much same thing. With each needing a few dozen birds - it's getting crowded up there...

    -Em
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by contrapunctus (907549)
      It's probably because the current GPS system has one owner who can shut if off at will?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Em Ellel (523581)

        It's probably because the current GPS system has one owner who can shut if off at will?
        I know why, but its still sad.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by w3woody (44457)
        ... And Europe is pissed that the on-off switch is in Washington D.C. rather than in Brussels ...
        • ... And Europe is pissed that the on-off switch is in Washington D.C. rather than in Brussels ...

          Personally, I think the actions of Brussels are just as uncorrelated with my interests as are the actions of Washington. A new system is good because we no longer have to depend on a single one, and to a lesser degree because they seem less inclined to turn it off.

          • by w3woody (44457)
            In all seriousness, as more and more commercial systems (such as commercial aviation, logistics and consumer applications) come to rely upon GPS, it will become increasingly harder to justify turning GPS off, even in the event of a national emergency.

            For example, most avionics now rely on GPS for navigation. If we turned off GPS for an hour at some random point in the future, at least two or three thousand people are going to die as airplanes across the United States go into the ground or into the side of v
            • >>>"the inability of France to understand U.S. motivations for everything from our participation in NATO to our willingness to defend Europe against the Soviets because of basic cultural differences."

              To summarize:

              The French don't understand the concept of "friendship" and "sharing with your neighbors". Frankly, I'm a bit surprised. I thought everyone understood those ideas, especially the people that has Fraternity as part of their motto. I guess not; they just the americans are waiting to stab
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kristoph (242780)
      By the same token ... 'it is so sad that it is necessary to have that may [operating system kernels] pretty much doing the same thing'.

      Personally I think diversity is good! No single organization or country should control a critical piece of technology.

      ]{
      • by Em Ellel (523581)

        By the same token ... 'it is so sad that it is necessary to have that may [operating system kernels] pretty much doing the same thing'.
        If you are forced to run all of them at the same time regardless which kernel you are actually using, yes it is sad. These are not competing systems - they will all be running at same time.

        -Em
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by zippthorne (748122)
      Why is that sad? What's wrong with having multiple separate systems, anyway?

      I mean, I'm a chest-thumping nationalistic patriot, but even I can see that the extra system will be a good thing for everyone. On the political side, we won't have to worry about Europeans getting their panties in a bunch over our control of our, very useful, system, because they'll have their own. On the device side, it's always good to have redundancy, even if the US didn't reserve the right to selectively degrade the signal w
      • by Em Ellel (523581)

        Why is that sad? What's wrong with having multiple separate systems, anyway?

        Its sad because these are not competing systems. The GPS sats are not really high tech (all the real high tech stuff is in the receiver) - they are pretty much the same thing with only difference of who controls it. They are infrastructure, and having one or four makes NO difference to the consumer (Imagine your house having an option to be hooked up to 4 different sewer systems - do you really care? - just makes things more complicated)

        Its sad because the only reason there are already three of these, and

        • >>>"Imagine your house having an option to be hooked up to 4 different sewer systems - do you really care?"

          That actually sounds like a good deal. One company charges $10 a month, another $5 a month, and the third $2 a month. Guess which company I'll pick? Yep. The cheapest (unless for some reason their pipes keep clogging, then I might upgrade to the $5 company).

          I like choice.

          I like having the power to decide in MY hands how I will spend my money; live my life.

          • by Em Ellel (523581)

            >>>"Imagine your house having an option to be hooked up to 4 different sewer systems - do you really care?"

            That actually sounds like a good deal. One company charges $10 a month, another $5 a month, and the third $2 a month. Guess which company I'll pick? Yep. The cheapest (unless for some reason their pipes keep clogging, then I might upgrade to the $5 company).

            I like choice.

            I like having the power to decide in MY hands how I will spend my money; live my life.

            Yeah, you clearly do not own a house or at least not owned it long enough to deal with municipal utility "companies". They will ALL charge you $10, plus each will charge you thousands when something goes wrong with each of the sewer lines on your property - regardless of if you actually use it. Plus they all will exercise the easement rights so they can dig up your front and back yard as they please, when they please. Did I mention you will also have to pay 4x the taxes to support them all? But hey, at le

    • There's nothing wrong with having multiply redundant systems. C'mon, this is Slashdot; most people here understand that a "monoculture" OS market is a bad thing, and satellite navigation systems going bad can screw up a lot of people's day worse than any Windows virus ever will.
  • by heroine (1220) on Monday April 28, 2008 @04:33PM (#23230090) Homepage
    Instead of starting a new system from scratch, they could have made it an extension to GPS. Imagine better altitude detection, less ionosphere interference. Good thing those farm subsidies went to good use.
    • Instead of starting a new system from scratch, they could have made it an extension to GPS.

      Then you'd lose the main point of not having all power in the hands of the government of the USA.

  • Does anyone know where I can find the technical specifications for this positioning system? It would be cool to build a receiver. (I realise it wouldn't be of much use until more satellites are up.)

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