back to article Space policy boffin: Blighty can't just ctrl-C, ctrl-V plans for Galileo into its Brexit satellite

Space policy expert Dr Bleddyn Bowen, of the University of Leicester, has told The Register that the UK faces considerably more hurdles replacing Galileo than just coughing £92m of "Brexit readiness" readies for a feasibility study on a homegrown version. The good Doctor's comments are timely, as the British government snuck …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    92 million?

    Medium Earth Orbit Unicorns.

  2. werdsmith Silver badge

    Re: 92 million?

    Haha Brexit Britain. We are a nation of twats. World class twats, but twats nonetheless.

    Face up to our twattishness, own it and be proud.

    But WTF does this mean - quote: "And the Brits, of course, love a rule."?? By my experience we detest them. Was the writer being ironic?

  3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Re: 92 million?

    Yeh, twats.

    So Sutherland space port.. why? Other than a jolly for their regional development agency. And the UK's being booted out of Gallileo because it's EU members only. Unless the US gets access, then the UK's left on the naughty step for defying Brussels. And then there's the spirit of future military co-operation with the EU military that we were assured wasn't a plan.

    And then there's perhaps a few questions being asked about the cost of kitting everyone out with Gallileo vs the actual need for 1cm accuracy.

  4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Re: 92 million?

    "But WTF does this mean - quote: "And the Brits, of course, love a rule."?? By my experience we detest them. Was the writer being ironic?"

    There are rules to queuing and you'd better not be the one to break them! If you do, be prepared for some very nasty stares and maybe even some muttering under the breath!!

    Maybe "Love" wasn't the correct term :-)

  5. werdsmith Silver badge

    Re: 92 million?

    Have you ever seen a queue at a bar in an English pub?

  6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Re: 92 million?

    The exception that proves the rule? :-)

  7. Jonathan Richards 1
    Joke

    Spexit!

    We don't need no stinkin' ITU; we'll stop subscribing to the Common Electromagnetic Spectrum and take back control! We just need someone to rewrite Maxwell's equations; the best minds must be able to do that, when they've finished with the Secure Backdoor Encryption project.

  8. YetAnotherAnonymousCoward!

    Re: Spexit!

    Ignoring the political shenanigans for a moment. Can we not just use the same spectrum as Galileo but use different encryption for the military aspect? We were part of the Galileo approach and you can argue the spectrum is as much ours as EUs.

    Admittedly, the EU would get an extra 24ish satellites to boost it's coverage for free, but our military will not be dependent on the wider Galileo EU encrypted signal in case of war. We can then use the same design as we have at the moment...

    I like "Newton" as a name if we end up with a GPS.

  9. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Re: Spexit!

    Ignoring the political shenanigans for a moment.

    You should not. And you should not ignore geography.

    Galileo as a military asset is geared for a conflict with EU latitudes. It sucks royally very far up North and far down South. The satellites are in relatively low inclinations and end up very low over the horizon so even a minimal Aurora Borealis (or Australis) knocks the signal out. +/- some help from any of the suspects operating at that latitude.

    With the Arctic melting to a point where the French can sail with flying colours from Brest to Tokio (as one of their Navy ships did this summer without asking for Russian permission), having a 11Bn asset that cannot cover that region is in the realm of lunacy (OK, I know, so is everything BrExit related anyway). That is what is needed to be designed and it is not likely to end up being GPS, Gallileo or GLONASS compatible.

    As far as the rest of the world, let's face it - if the situation is such that ALL OF GPS, Gallileo, GLONASS and BeiDou are not available, the likelihood of "your own" system being alive is very slim.

  10. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Re: Spexit!

    Yeah by that argument why havent you joined the Euro side? We have trash money!

  11. Len Silver badge

    Re: Spexit!

    [quote]We were part of the Galileo approach and you can argue the spectrum is as much ours as EUs.[/quote]

    How do you expect that to work? The spectrum is reserved for the EU. By leaving the EU we give up our rights to that allocation.

  12. katrinab Silver badge
    Trollface

    Re: Spexit!

    "Ignoring the political shenanigans for a moment. Can we not just use the same spectrum as Galileo but use different encryption for the military aspect?"

    Even better: why not use the same spectrum that Sky uses for its TV service. I'm sure there won't be any problem with that.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Spexit!

    "Ignoring the political shenanigans for a moment. Can we not just use the same spectrum as Galileo but use different encryption for the military aspect?"

    I see neither physics, nor engineering, nor systems analysis were among your better subjects in school.

    It doesn't work that way.

  14. Justthefacts

    Re: Spexit!

    Hurray! A bit of engineering amidst the “Brexit must be bad” stuff.

    So, our involvement in EU Galileo gave us:

    1) Access to the military signal (civilian everyone gets anyway)

    2) In cases confined to a European theatre of war. So, out of the wars we have been involved in recently, this would have helped in: Afghanistan, no. Iraq, no. Syria, no. Going back a bit - Somalia, no. Falkands, no. Aden, no. Serbia maybe, except see below actually still no.

    3) But, since we don’t have it, as a member of NATO we get the USA GPS codes unless the USA refuse to support. So, this investment allows us to prosecute a war within Europe, in which the United States is at least neutral (so, not against Russia then).

    4) A war not against any of the other EU27 (which excludes a Serbia type conflict) or a civil war. Or, is that what you want it for? A suppression of Catalonian nationalism for example? If that is it, please let’s get it out in the open and discuss.

    Please could any of the expected downvoting Remainers, outline just ONE scenario that this actually fulfils a need?

  15. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Re: Spexit!

    Please could any of the expected downvoting Remainers, outline just ONE scenario that this actually fulfils a need?

    You're asking the wrong people. You need to be asking the UK military why they thought 15 years ago that Galileo was a good idea. It's not as though they even had the example of the Mango Mussolini in the White House at the time.

  16. Frank Exchange Of Views

    Re: Spexit!

    >Galileo as a military asset is geared for a conflict with EU latitudes. It sucks royally very far up North and far down South.

    Congratulations, you got it exactly wrong. Galileo has been geared to offer better precision at high latitudes than GPS and GLONASS.

  17. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Re: Spexit!

    "confined to a European theatre of war"

    I hate to break this shocking news to you but satellites go round the world*. Members of a constellation should be available at any longitude although the inclination of the orbit will determine the range of latitudes between which they're above the horizon.

    * A Brexit satellite will be different. It will go round in ever-decreasing circles over the UK until it disappears up its own thruster.

  18. Justthefacts

    Re: Spexit!

    No. You have misunderstood the physics. It isn’t “high latitudes”, it is aided by a pseudo Molniya orbit with high altitude and hang time over Europe. Specifically Europe.

    By the way, that is absolutely a correct engineering decision for most of the *civilian* use cases.

    But not much use to aid the military scenarios.

  19. Justthefacts

    Re: Spexit!

    Yes, and no.

    Available, yes. But you need to understand Dilution of Precision. Go google it,

    Then, realise that orbits don’t need to be circular, and elliptical ones can hang for longer at more optimal angles, by Keplers law.

    In short, take a course in orbital mechanics, and have a squizz through the dozens of technical trade offs made.

  20. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    Re: Spexit!

    @Voland's right hand

    Where did you get this from "It sucks royally very far up North and far down South."

    According to ESA:

    "the Galileo navigation signals will provide good coverage even at latitudes up to 75 degrees north, which corresponds to Norway's North Cape - the most northerly tip of Europe - and beyond.".

    Also "Galileo is interoperable with GPS and Glonass, the US and Russian global satellite navigation systems".

    And why would anybody ask the Russians permission to sail on international waters.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Spexit!

    "2) In cases confined to a European theatre of war. "

    Reminds me of the John Bird and John Fortune (The Long John's on Bird, Bremner and Fortune) did in the lead up to the Iraq war where one was acting as a UK general who was talking up the capabilities of the UK army in answeer to every topic until asked if this would work in Iraq only to say "well, the British army has planned for years for a war in Northern Europe and in Iraq it's too hot/has sand everywhere/is hte wrong colour for our camoflague/etc" and ended up when asked fopr the solution by saying "well, we ought to write a letter to Sadaam Hussein and say that as we all clearly want to have a war then wouldn't he mind sending his army over to Northern Europe so we can fight them there"

    N.b. this was one of the many sketches where they demonstrated their principle that the best way to satirise UK government policy was basically to repeat the UK government policy verbatim!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: George Parr (the Long Johns on Iraq)

    "they demonstrated their principle that the best way to satirise UK government policy was basically to repeat the UK government policy verbatim"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nohGiQmOxlc

    Just under eight minutes summarises the disastrous history of top level UK MoD policies in the last few decades.

    Please stay tuned right to the end. This isn't satire, it's not even fake news, it's fact.

  23. Justthefacts

    Re: Spexit!

    So now, when it suits your preconceived politics, you just believe the vendor advertising.

    Read what they said. Exactly.

    “Available”, yes. Giving the high precision, no.

    In particular, giving the super high precision required for munitions guidance, no.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Spexit!

    Please could any of the expected downvoting Remainers, outline just ONE scenario that this actually fulfils a need?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Re your points:

    2. In fact, Galileo is a global system, like GPS, GLONASS, and Beidou-2, and unlike Beidou-1, NAVIC (India) and QZSS (Japan), which are regional. Most GNSS systems suffer problems at very high or low latitudes, but the first 4, above, otherwise cover the planet well.

    3. Potentially, the US could deny GPS to any region where there is a conflict they oppose. They have opposed military actions by allies before before (Suez) and it could have happened in other cases (Falklands) if the power struggle in the US State Department had gone the other way.

    4. A GNSS is currently considered a necessary capability to support precision weapons, including counter-force ballistic missiles. Notice how all the owners of GNSS systems are also nuclear powers, or could become so in a matter of months (that would be Japan). That makes it about having an independent nuclear deterrent. If you want to count on the US to be willing to enter a nuclear war on your behalf in a crisis, or a losing the conventional war situation, you don't need one so much. Your choice.

  25. tfb Silver badge
    Boffin

    Re: Spexit!

    It's not just European theatres of war. It might not be good too far inside the arctic circle, in some circumstances, or in Antarctica, in some circumstances. But it will be fine in all of the places you say it will not be fine.

  26. tfb Silver badge
    Terminator

    Re: Spexit!

    I think it's been apparent for really a long time to anyone thinking hard about it that there might be cases where we can't completely rely on the US. For examples of this you only have to read about the code-breaking efforts in the second war: we did end up mostly getting on with them but it was by no means always clear that we would. And, of course, people planning these sorts of things probably do think in terms of 'what if they elect a fascist ape?' in just the same way they probably worry about whether we might elect some kind of pinko liberal communist sympathiser (which they would spell 'PINKO LIBRUL COMMIE' I expect).

    Quite apart from this redundancy is good: what if some bad person compromises the GPS satellites? Would it then be good to, you know, have some other ones which we could still use?

  27. tfb Silver badge
    Terminator

    Re: Spexit!

    Well, you see, I have done a course on orbital mechanics. And I also have access to powerful internet search technology, and I found this. And, oh look, the orbital eccentricity is ... zero: they're fucking circular orbits. And just to complete it: they're all in orbits at 56 degrees inclination, three groups of 10 (8 active, two spare) separated by 120 degrees.

    GPS works at 55 degrees inclination (so, the same) with six groups separated by 60 degrees, four satellites per plane.

    This is not a system which 'favours Europe': please quit your dissimulation.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Spexit!

    "well, the British army has planned for years for a war in Northern Europe and in Iraq it's too hot/has sand everywhere/is hte wrong colour for our camoflague/etc"

    This is an instance of a much more general and universal problem.

    Military forces and equipment are not 'one size fits all (conflicts).

    Usually what you have fits the last war you fought, not the current one.

    Example 1

    Combat rifles - The post WW2 era started with militaries preparing for a war between major power alliances in Europe. That meant tanks, lots of high performance aircraft, missiles, battle rifles (M14 / FN FAL, other 7.62x51 full power rifles) with a 600m effective range, heavy artillery, and equipment for nuclear and chemical environments, fought by European and similar troops.

    Then the US found itself at war in the hot, damp, often jungle covered Vietnam. Their allies were small Asians who found the M14 overly large, and heavy with lots of recoil relative to their mass. The sightlines were restricted, ranges were short with longer range combat being carried by machine guns, mortars, artillery, helicopter gunships, attack aircraft, and heavy bombers. Close quarters combat against highly motivated infantry seemed to need automatic fire, but the battle rifles had too much recoil, and the heavy ammunition limited the number of rounds carried. Their answer was the M16 in 5.56x45 intermediate (reduced) power cartridge. Teething problems and some degree of crankiness aside, this seemed to work - though I note that the era of infantry carrying a backup pistol came in during the 5.56mm rifle era.

    Then they found themselves fighting in the dry, distinctly under-forested land of Afghanistan - and their M16s were outranged by opponents armed with bolt action 30 calibre rifles using old cartridges like .303 and the various similar 'battle rifle' cartridges. Now they are looking at new cartridges between 6.5 and 7mm, ith more or less similar ballistics to the 6.5x55 Swedish cartridge introduced for the Swedish and Norwegian armies in the 1890s, and still arguably one of the best standard rifle cartridges.

    In each case, they had the wrong cartridge for their tactics when they went into a military campaign... but the 1950s cartridge would have been fine for the 2000s.

    Example 2

    Armour

    When the US first went into Afghanistan and Iraq, it has what were basically cold war armour designs for high intensity combat against a similarly armed enemy.

    The US army has spent decades designing and acquiring armoured combat vehicles for combat against lightly armed opponents without air power, artillery, or armour, but with grenades, mortars, mines, and IEDs. These are not really the best against opposing Main Battle Tanks, guided artillery projectiles, and attack jets with precision weapons.

    Yet they are now looking at the possibility of fighting near peer forces, and they have the wrong vehicles, all over again, and need to go back to something more like an updated version of 1970s tanks and IFVs.

  29. Justthefacts

    Re: Spexit!

    What military actions exactly in today’s world would be “Suez-like?”. Almost all of the UK’s recent wars have been multilateralist. Those that are not (e.g. Falkands) are likely not supported with the required precision by Galileo, because there isn’t a high-rising MEO over that location.

    Very importantly, in the case of Falkands, let’s not forget that it was France that refused to give us the Exocet codes to allow us to defend ourselves. Or, let’s take a minor civil war like the Northern Ireland conflict. Are you sure that the EU would support the use of munitions like GNSS guided mortar fire to take out an IRA position? 100% sure? Galileo absolutely doesn’t retire political risk. Most realistic scenarios are very problematic when stated explicitly.

    4) To support an independent nuclear deterrent. *Yes, exactly that*. So, let’s have that debate.

    It isn’t the US intervening on our behalf, it is whether they would actively prevent our own capability.

    If instead of people being told “Brexit bad because no Galileo”, this were phrased as

    “A key benefit of Remain is to allow us a policy to launch nuclear weapons even if the United States disagrees” most Remainers, being liberal multilateralist, would be *horrified* that this was what they had been voting in favour of.

  30. Justthefacts

    Re: Spexit!

    Nor can we rely on the EU. For example, while the US refused to support us in the Falklands, the French actively refused to give us the Exocet codes, resulting in huge loss of life.

    Political risk exists *either way*.

    So, I propose to plan for a world that matches the history of the last fifty years or so. Which is-

    A bunch of small conflicts, where there is mostly but not completely multilateral agreement. But certainly no threat of active US GPS denial.

    Plus a continuation of Cold War tensions and proxy wars, where the US will be on the same side. Not necessarily prepared to defend us though. But the US is certainly more likely to be actively involved on the U.K. behalf, than trying to defend the indefensible like EU27 including Hungary and Poland.

    Your scenario is that some Bond villain compromises the United States most highly protected military asset, an act of war, and instant annihilation for any nation trying it. Not realistic.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bond's villains vs Dr Strangelove?

    "some Bond villain compromises the United States most highly protected military asset, an act of war, and instant annihilation for any nation trying it. Not realistic."

    Where have you been the last decade or five?

    The villains are in charge, and certainly have been since the days of the Project for a New American Century, maybe earlier, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz served in the Bush administration - this seems like an appropriate time to remember them as well as GWB, and to remember that Blair was happy to support the US ventures in Iraq with a "blood sacrifice" (not their blood, obviously).

    Sometimes the villains are in the back rooms, sometimes in view if you know where to look, sometimes these days they're wittering away in full public view.

  32. MJI Silver badge

    Re: France

    They played both sides

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17256975

    But they did help us by giving us info on French sold kit.

    But most were stopped by simple British intelligence agency capability.

  33. tfb Silver badge
    Boffin

    Re: Spexit!

    Those that are not (e.g. Falkands) are likely not supported with the required precision by Galileo, because there isn’t a high-rising MEO over that location.

    OK, here we go again. As I've said before the Galileo orbits are circular, so there are no special cases because the satellites are at apogee: apogee and perigee have the same radius. Secondly we can easily compute the period of the orbits based on the orbital radius and the mass of the Earth: it's about 14h4min (50682s about). It's pretty easy to see from this that there are no privileged longitudes: all places at a given latitude see the same average number of satellites as the orbital planes move over the surface (you have to be careful to do this right: don't use the solar day). It's also easy to see from symmetry that negative latitudes are equivalent to positive ones.

    So what this says, in summary is that coverage depends only on the absolute value of latitude: things work as well at any longitude, and places north of the equator get equivalent coverage to places south of it.

    So, OK, what's the latitude of the Falklands? -51.56 degrees. What's the of London? +51.52 degrees.

    In other words: if Galileo (or GPS: I've not done the sums for GPS but it will be the same) works well in London, it works well in the Falklands.

    Please, stop bullshitting: it makes you look like a fool.

  34. tfb Silver badge
    Terminator

    Re: Spexit!

    Actually my scenario is that a nation state compromises GPS. It might be a nation state run by someone who looks a lot like a Bond villain of course, and one that acts like a Bond villain as a result: poisoning people with nerve agents, say. And it might either compromise it technically (please, let's not have the 'special magic extra military technology' which somehow makes that harder: there's no reason to believe the military are better at the security of computing systems than anyone else (which is terrifying, but true), or politically.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "And then there is of course" reads like it should have been followed by a mention of Russia's GLONASS, not Galileo again.

    Many "GPS" devices use both GPS and GLONASS at the same time. (Galileo as third is slightly less common.)

  36. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Is Galileo even a thing yet? I was still under some impression that it was still yet but, a twinkle in some Engineers mind. Something to fillout reams of Paper with. But nothing nearly a practical yet? Besides Why does Europe need its own GPS System for? When we can just use the American & Russian versions of it like we've been doing for that something touching on nearly (if not actually over!), twenty years now.

    Or are we planing for a War with one or, both of these powers?

  37. Sykowasp

    Yes, there's plenty of Galileo satellites up there providing a 1cm accurate signal. I think there are some more to be launched to complete the constellation, but we are pretty much pulling out in the final straight of the race.

    As Wikipedia says: "As of July 2018, 26 of the planned 30 active satellites are in orbit.[8][9] Galileo started offering Early Operational Capability (EOC) on 15 December 2016,[1] providing initial services with a weak signal, and is expected to reach Full Operational Capability (FOC) in 2019.[10] The complete 30-satellite Galileo system (24 operational and 6 active spares) is expected by 2020.[11]"

    I'm so so sick of unicorn based politics these days.

  38. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    @Michael Habel

    It's about keeping up with the technology and supporting the "domestic" industry (too).

  39. uncle sjohie

    I'ts nearly finished, and a full technological generation more modern then GPS. This means a more accurate "free" signal for al EU citizens. As a bonus, the Galileo space vehicles carry cospar transmitters and receivers, so it can do SAR functions too, whereas the GPS Block III+ space vehicles can't, because they lack those transmitters and receivers.

  40. katrinab Silver badge

    It got to its nearly-finished state a few months ago. My iPhone, and I suspect most phones in circulation at the moment support only GPS and Glonass. Galileo support will presumably come in later models.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is Galileo even a thing yet? I was still under some impression that it was still yet but, a twinkle in some Engineers mind. Something to fillout reams of Paper with. But nothing nearly a practical yet?

    ---------------------

    Galileo has 26 of 30 planned satellites in orbit. The last 4 should be up by some time in 2020.

    It reached initial operational status in 2016 and should be quite usable, though the extra satellites may improve lock time or accuracy in some instances. At other times it will be quite irrelevant as those would not have been above your horizon. Also, the plan calls for 24 operational satellites and 6 spares... so they are pretty close to the full constellation already.

    I believe there may be some work to be done yet on the PRS encrypted signal - at least there were some hints in some sources to that being the case - but the free civilian use signal should be quite usable now - and that's the only signal most of us will use.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It got to its nearly-finished state a few months ago. My iPhone, and I suspect most phones in circulation at the moment support only GPS and Glonass. Galileo support will presumably come in later models."

    -----------------

    Maybe.

    If they make different three GNSS chipsets for different markets, or if they make 4 GPU chipsets, then yes. If not, I suspect the third GNSS supported will be China's, in many cases.

    If there are four GNSS chipsets, I would expect them to handle GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and Beidou-2.

    Other satellite navigation systems are likely to be reserved for commercial and military applications (India, Japan, maybe the UK). Seeing them in consumer devices? An unlikely choice - less likely the UK's than India's, given the population and geographic extent differences.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ok, different sources, different data.

    It looks like Galileo has 15 operational satellites, up from 7 when they announced initial operational capability. There are four more in orbit, 'commissioning' since August.

    Two more should launch in 2020.

    Ten more are scheduled for after 2022. I'm guessing that some of these will replace earlier satellites, including the two that may have compromised orbits.

    Let's see.. 15 + 4 +2 + 10 = 31

    ... or about the full constellation plus all spares.

    You need 4 satellites above the horizon for location + altitude, or 3 for location if 'ground level' on the world reference and model you are using is assumed.

    Given that Galileo is in MEO, much of a hemisphere can see it at one time, so 15 ought to do nicely...

    my receiver sees 10 to 12 or so GPS satellites of 31 most of the time.... sometimes more.

  44. Raj

    There have been NAVIC reference chipsets out for a couple of years now, and India is in the process of requiring all commercial mobile / navigation devices sold within the country to have NAVIC as the default option, from a point in near future.

  45. JimboSmith Silver badge

    I know a tiny bit about satellite navigation and don't claim to be an expert on this. However I seem to recall that when GPS was degraded there was a system that compared the known location of something such as a lighthouse with the GPS signal. This then gave the ability to work out what the introduced error was and broadcast it allowing automatic correction for it in suitably equipped receivers. Could the same not be used for Galileo?

  46. vtcodger Silver badge

    As far as I can tell, Japan's QZSS seems to emulate an extra GPS satellite for Japanese users. If I understand correctly the unique feature is the use of elliptical orbits designed to keep at least one satellite high over the home islands at any given time. Since the signal is coming more or less straight down, vertical resolution is much improved and multipath problems in urban areas should be much reduced.

  47. Justthefacts

    Unicorn based politics?

    Is that like where Surrey Satellites bid the contract, technically feasible and under cost? Then German OHB win, take 5 years *not* to launch what they promised in three. Then Surrey satellites rescue the spectrum allocation by building tech demonstrators from a standing start in 18 months, while OHB drop a *further* two years and many billions of EU money.

    Then, OHB *keep the contract*, despite that a U.K. company is demonstrably cheaper, technically more capable, and faster.

    Right now, despite the billions already spent, Surrey could *easily* build and launch an entire 30 satellite constellation for lower cost than just the four remaining satellites with OHB. Wiki doesn’t mention that, does it.....

    Are those the unicorns you are looking for?

  48. VikiAi
    Black Helicopters

    Re: Or are we planing for a War with one or, both of these powers?

    We have always been at war with [ the US / Russia ]

  49. Alan Brown Silver badge

    "Many "GPS" devices use both GPS and GLONASS at the same time. (Galileo as third is slightly less common.)"

    My devices supported Beidou before they started even trying to use Gallileo

  50. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Re: Unicorn based politics?

    "despite the billions already spent, Surrey could *easily* build and launch an entire 30 satellite constellation"

    Except that they're no longer Surrey Satellites, they're part of Airbus EADS

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