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EU Space Science

Galileo: Europe's Version of GPS Reaches Key Phase 328

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-yet-persecuted-by-the-catholic-church dept.
another random user sends this quote from the BBC: "The third and fourth spacecraft in Europe's satellite navigation system have gone into orbit. The pair were launched on a Russian Soyuz rocket from French Guiana. It is an important milestone for the multi-billion-euro project to create a European version of the U.S. Global Positioning System. With four satellites now in orbit — the first and second spacecraft were launched in 2011 — it becomes possible to test Galileo end-to-end. That is because a minimum of four satellites are required in the sky for a smartphone or vehicle to use their signals to calculate a positional fix."
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Galileo: Europe's Version of GPS Reaches Key Phase

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  • Re:Good to hear (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Grave (8234) <> on Saturday October 13, 2012 @11:33PM (#41646629)

    Oh, the budget for GPS will pretty much never be cut until the system becomes obsoleted by something newer. The US military relies on GPS. However, the more navigation systems we have, the faster and more reliable fixes can become for civilian use.

  • Re:Chicken::egg. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _merlin (160982) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @11:38PM (#41646667) Homepage Journal

    They'll arrive. There are already devices that can receive both Soviet GLONASS and GPS (e.g. Galaxy SIII) to get better positional accuracy. Soon the new devices will receive Galileo as well, for triple redundancy and improved accuracy.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday October 13, 2012 @11:44PM (#41646685)
    That must be exactly what Russians think about us not wanting to use their fine space launch services indefinitely.
  • by Space cowboy (13680) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @12:19AM (#41646809) Journal

    When your international reputation is at an all-time low you should expect things like this... Galileo was started way before the US popularity took a nose dive, but the last decade or so are only going to make projects like this *more* likely. To the civilised world, the US is not one of the good guys any more, they're not in "bad guy" territory yet, but they're sure headed there fast.

    Basically the world no longer trusts the USA. Simple as that.


  • Re:...Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @12:53AM (#41646961)

    Why is Europe spending billions to create their own GPS constellation when the US government already went through the hassle and expense? The GPS system is free and open to use by anyone with a GPS receiver. This strikes me as nothing but a political move, as if to say "We're independent and don't need America to provide anything for us". This is a completely redundant and pointless project by the EU.

    Even as an American I can see the value in having a completely separate system for satellite navigation. Even ignoring the ability of the USA to reduce the accuracy (or completely shut off) the system, the system is still a potential single point of failure subject to software problems or a rogue agent controlling the ground stations. Much better to have a completely separate redundant system with no common elements.

  • Re:...Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @12:55AM (#41646969)

    "Why can't we all be friends?"

    Because some of those "friends" will eat your lunch.

    Don't be paranoid... but don't be a fool, either.

    Peace through superior firepower.

  • by bigt_littleodd (594513) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @12:57AM (#41646987)

    Your comment is short-sighted.

    GPS, whether American, Russian, or EU, is first and foremost, a military asset for their respective owners.

    The US military can elect to disable or cripple civilian GPS service to all devices other than their own when they deem it necessary to prevent its use by hostile forces. Presumably, GLONASS and the EU systems have the same capability.

    History repeatedly shows that international political alliances vary over time. Just because we currently are at relative peace with the EU and Russia, that does not mean it will always be so in the decades to come. I'm not saying we will be in a hostile situation with either in the future, but it's not out of the realm of possibility, either.

    The EU is building their own system not because they want to win a "pissing match" with the US or Russia. It would be foolish of them strategically to depend on a GPS that is under someone else's control.

  • Re:...Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 14, 2012 @02:53AM (#41647415)

    Yeah, except that jamming Galileo would provoke a vastly different response from the EU than the US turning some switches off on their own positioning system. You know, this isn't a computer game where the only thing that counts is what you can *technically* do.

    Sternly worded letter? Fights happen in economy today, not on the battlefield. US citizens like to think they're safe just because no country is stupid and suicidal enough to drop bombs on them.

  • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @03:07AM (#41647459)

    The EU sees the US as far less trustworthy than you do, and expects to come into conflict with it again - war is unlikely but economic and policitical spats are quite common between the two. In addition to that galilleo lets them have greater accuracy than the US will allow with GPS, and ensures that they don't have a strategic dependency on the US in space.

    Strange how myopic and solipsistic the view from the US is sometimes.

  • by toutankh (1544253) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @03:44AM (#41647579)

    Seeing how the USA are the biggest bully on the planet, it is a smart choice for no country to depend on them, even for the EU, itself made of big bullies.
    The USA have already misbehaved [] with their "friends" and there is no reason to believe that they will not do it again. Therefore seeking independence from them is the sane thing to do.

  • Re:...Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @03:49AM (#41647597) Journal

    I think destroying the satellites would be the equivalent of a declaration of war. I'm not sure the U.S. would want to declare war on its allies.

    Of course should the U.S. and Europe no longer be allies at the time that happens, then if the U.S. kills the Galileo satellites, I guess Europe's answer would be to kill the GPS satellites. Again, not exactly what the U.S. wants.

  • Re:...Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 14, 2012 @04:13AM (#41647691)

    No, that's just plain wrong. It is not sufficient to know the exact time at three transmitters to get a 3D fix. You'd also need to know the exact time when the signals are received, which is a very difficult (read: costly) problem. The accuracy of the positioning information is limited by both the precision of the satellite clock signal and the accuracy of the receiver clock signal. The latter can be removed from the equations by using a fourth satellite signal, but not by providing better satellite clock signals. And you really need to stop calling people names, especially when you're so obviously out of your depth.

One good suit is worth a thousand resumes.