back to article Galileo, Galileo, Galileo good two go

The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced that two more satellites in its Galileo satnav system are ready to assist you to your destination. Galileos 7 and 8, which both went aloft on 27 March, are now “performing as planned and meshing with the worldwide Galileo ground network.” ESA in-orbit test manager David Sanchez- …

  1. DocJames


    here's hoping the nagivational system is excellent when it's guiding nuclear missles too. They're bad enough when they hit the right target; I'm not sure I want them going astray.

    Obvious icon is obvious

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Well...

      Why just nuclear?

      That is the general thought in at least some of the consumers. See the range:

      Missile technology non-proliferation my a***.

    2. Known Hero

      Re: Well...

      Guess i'm alright in the upcoming apocalypse, I'm on a new road half the sat navs can't find me :D

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Well...

        Big nuclear missiles are guided by star trackers - because the way you know you are in a proper shootin-war is when the other chaps shoot down all your GPS satellites.

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Wow is this slow.

    3 years from 1st 2 (one built by SSTL) then these 2 .

    Slow as hell.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Wow is this slow.

      The first test satellite was launched in 2005...

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Wow is this slow.

      Three years to build and launch a satellite is pretty much par for the course. And as you can see from TFA now they've started with the production birds, their launch tempo is starting to increase, it's been just over a year since the first set were launched, but the next set look to be in about six months.

    3. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Wow is this slow.

      Taking bets now for first to actually arrive: Galileo startup, GIMP 3.0, heat death of the universe...

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Wow is this slow.

        Can I post a bet that all three will happen before GNU Hurd hits V. 1.0?


    Galileo, Galileo, Galileo magnifico..

    +1 for Queen reference...

  4. Turtle


    "Galileo, Galileo, Galileo good two go. Magnifico! Another pair of Euro satnav birds come online for your navigational pleasure"

    You kinda lose the meter there, towards the end.

    Very disappointing. But you can practice along to this; it could help:

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: Meter.

      Or possibly more appropriate for us lot, this:

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I cant really understand

    why a nuke has to be delivered with centimeter precision...I would have thought that was an unnecessary level of accuracy in the same way as the weather status at work tells me its 8.473 centigrade... I am not sure that last .003 is what makes it time to put the jumper on...

    Kudos to the ESA though - now is there a phone that can use it as well as GPS?

    1. Peter 26

      Re: I cant really understand

      The chip that supports Galileo is the BCM4774. Googling it I couldn't find any phone that currently uses it. The very latest phones released this month seem to use BCM4773 which is the previous version which doesn't support Galileo.

      Interestingly the BCM4773 supports the russian system GLASNOSS and the Chinese system Beidou.

      So maybe give it a year?

      1. Steve Todd

        Re: I cant really understand - @Pete

        Erm, the Rusian system is called GLONAS, not GLASNOSS.

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: I cant really understand

        Russia mandated that any 'navigation device' (including smartphones) sold in Russia had to have GLONASS support, so most smartphone manufacturers have started supporting both. (Technically they have to pay 25% tax on any sat-nav system that supports GPS but not GLONASS, so not an outright ban).

        Also, if you combine the signals from multiple positioning networks you can potentially get more accuracy than using any single one.

        Turns out that nation state competition is good for us end consumers occasionally (until they use the navigation systems for nukes).

    2. Steve Todd

      Re: I cant really understand

      A nuke doesn't need that level of precision. There are civilian applications that do though. Flying precision instrument approaches to airfields that lack glideslope equipment for example, or surveying a site for construction.

    3. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: I cant really understand

      The really accurate ones are aimed at the enemy's missile silos which are hardened against anything short of a near direct hit.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: I cant really understand

        When Apple added GLONASS support (back in 2009 I think, via whatever Broadcom's first chip that supported both) they mentioned it would allow improved accuracy due to more sources.

        If you eventually support all four major ones (even ones that are only partially complete like all except GPS are) that extra accuracy is nice but what you probably like better if you are a non US resident is that if the US ever decides to degrade civilian GPS where you live due to imminent attack, if there are enough other satellites in orbit you can still find the nearest bomb shelter :)

  6. DriveBy

    We already have a free navigation service, so one might wonder what the purpose of the expenditure of our "hard-earned" on this project is for?

    ...Perhaps they intend to scramble the already existing consumer level US system..."Road pricing", here we go again.

    Rather more scarily, we can only hope that the EU is not trying to set itself up as a rival to Nato, bearing in mind its hopeless performance in dealing with Turkish aggression... (or is cheap oil the only thing that our politicians are concerned with?).

    I mean you could not make this up... They are intending to bomb Assad, apparently to destroy ISIS, whilst simultaneously accelerating the accession of the real supporter and funder of ISIS into the EU. Next thing I suppose will be to have Saudi Arabia in the EU too!

    These are dangerous times, and the politburo at the top of the EU is no help to any of us... Time to leave!... No! ...Time to destroy it!

    Have politicians already forgotten how dangerous its original USSR model was for humanity? Or are they just common criminals?

    1. Blane Bramble


      It's because there is no guarantee that the USA will not turn on Selective Availability (yes they have stated new satellites won't support it, but who knows...) or otherwise block GPS should it suit them. Having a Euro navigation system means that both consumer and military applications are not dependant on another nations geopolicies.

      1. DriveBy

        Re: @DriveBy

        So because of your fear that the USA (our allies for the past 70 years plus) might do something that they have never suggested they will do, you are prepared to hand the EC (effectively a clone of Brezhnev's politburo) billions of Euro's, to make use at some point in some distant future of a system that they have already promised will be chargeable?

        You don't work for them do you?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      EU trying to set itself up as a rival to Nato?

      "we can only hope that the EU is not trying to set itself up as a rival to Nato"

      Fwiw... of NATO's 28 full member states, twenty five of them (~89%) are European. Of the EU's 28 member states, 22 are NATO member states, so ~78% of NATO is the EU.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. DriveBy

        Re: EU trying to set itself up as a rival to Nato?

        Tell the Yanks that Nato is 78% "European", they will laugh heartily.

        I mean to say.... All those European missiles, aircraft, warships, aircraft carriers, soldiers, airmen and sailors.

        You eejit!

  7. David Pearce

    The POSSIBILITY is enough to prevent the use of GPS for aircraft landings etc. Galileo is also more accurate than civilian GPS. The built in limitations of GPS can easily place you on the wrong road

    1. DriveBy

      Sorry, but I cannot see how a still theoretical system (note the title of this piece) can be more accurate than a working model.

      Apart from that, the punter on the street does not get to use the military system that is available to NATO co-signees. We have a FREE system that is only accurate to a metre or so.

      This is all about eency weency little tin-pot politicians like Cameron and Hollande wanting to puff themselves up.

      Meanwhile the Turks, aka ISIS supporting Sunni Moslems attempting to recreate the centre of the old Caliphate in Istanbul, are getting closer, and only that rogue Putin is prepared to save our a*ses.

      But carry on chaps.

      1. Steve Todd


        Why on earth do you think Putin is helping against ISIS? He's spent most of his time attacking rebel forces not in any way linked to ISIS.

        1. DriveBy

          Re: @Drive

          Oh yes...

          I forgot the fabled 70,000 "rebels" ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha....

          Whilst it might be true that there are some stray "locals" still remaining in the area, that have been set-up as the enemy of Al Assad, the secular leader of Syria, who is supported by Putin. Putin has been merrily bombing the virtually permanent convoy of oil tankers that are ribboning their way across the Levant, since he understands that this situation is the reason that "Isil" seem to have unlimited funds.

          Don't forget to take your copy of the Daily Mail, along with "your coat"... (and hat).

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        ESA have already launched a number of test/validation satellites, and they have managed to get a position fix, so it's not a theoretical system any more, and it is indeed more accurate than GPS.

        The more accurate version of Galileo is available to NATO members, but it's also available to you (yes you!) or anyone else willing to pay for more accurate data, it's a commercial system, not a military one.

        I'll leave the rest of your rant for someone else to deal with, but did you know that the Swiss are providing the clocks? They're probably building them with nazi gold stolen from the jews right? Oh, and did you look at what kind of rocket is mentioned in TFA?

      3. A Known Coward

        " We have a FREE system that is only accurate to a metre or so."

        As opposed to GPS which is only accurate to 8 metres. I'd say an 8 fold increase in accuracy (much greater for educational, research and commercial licencees) is worth the expense, especially when you consider that GPS coverage isn't perfect in northern Europe - hell, I'm in the US right now and even here it's perfectly lousy at times.

        Your position seems to be that we should put all our eggs in one basket and trust to the goodness of the American government. Which is just incredibly naive and foolish. Stop trying to tie up what is a worthwhile project with the political mess that is the EU, even while I'll campaign for exit from the EU I'll still be flying the banner for Galileo - the project may well be badly managed and servicing the egos of bureaucrats but the end goal is still worthwhile.

  8. -tim

    Its about time

    Many modern SatNav chips are activly ignoring pulsar noise which is sort of odd since pulsars are better clocks then the ones in the satellites. I figure by 2020, the need for an orbital transmitters will go away once the chipset providers work out how to get pseudorange info from the pusar pulses they are currently ignoring. Once that happens, and someone comes up with the right info, the things could give positions even on Mars.

    1. Steve Todd

      Re: Its about time

      I can see at least three problems with this idea.

      Firstly you've confused accuracy of repetition with time. A pendulum isn't a clock and can't tell you what time it is. Neither is a pulsar.

      Secondly they lack a tuned frequency. If you want to detect them with the kind of tiny antena you can put in a mobile phone or what have you they need to resonate strongly at a particular radio frequency (preferably a high frequency also).

      Thirdly the baseline is too long and too imprecise. The GPS system gets its fix by having a precisely known location for each of the satellites the receiver is locked to, plus being able to measure the difference in time between the arrival of signals. The result mathematically is a set of intersecting spheres. The position of pulsars isn't known to the level of precision required, and the sphere has expanded so far that you can't get the multiple points of intersection required.

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