back to article Galileo! Galileo! Galileo good to go after six-week recovery effort

The European Space Agency has announced that the sixth satellite in its Galileo satnav constellation has reached its desired orbit. The fifth and sixth Galileo birds flew last August, but a software problem with the launch craft's boosters saw both satellites land in sub-optimal orbits. The fifth satellite was nudged into a …

  1. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    "reached its desired orbit."

    The rest of the article would seem to suggest that what it's actually reached is an orbit that sort of does well enough in a pinch but is nowhere near what was wanted.

    The Galileo project is to rocket science[1] what the Keystone Kops are to law enforcement.

    [1] Bugger all science value, bugger all commercial drive and now they can't get the things in the right place. Still the chair warming coterie of gravy train riders in Brussels feel more important, so it meets its core goal.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: "reached its desired orbit."

      So the world and Europe in particular should be relying on the whim of Putin, Obama and successors for GPS and timing (Mobile Phone masts, DAB and DTT multiplexes use the USA GPS for timing data)?

      We need Galileo.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: "reached its desired orbit."

        So the world and Europe in particular should be relying on the whim of Putin, Obama and successors for GPS and timing

        You're assuming that the NSA or KGB doesn't already have a backdoor in all the Galileo satellites allowing it to turn them off, or transmit false data, when required?

        We need a tinfoil hat icon...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "reached its desired orbit."

          You're assuming that the NSA or KGB doesn't already have a backdoor in all the Galileo satellites allowing it to turn them off, or transmit false data, when required?

          if they don't already, there's always the X-37B...

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: "reached its desired orbit."

          There's always Beidou..... :)

      2. Andrew Moore Silver badge

        Re: "reached its desired orbit."

        That was the French military's reasoning about pressing for Galileo in the first place

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @andrew

          Damn right, they wouldn't want to get lost whilst running away!

          1. TitterYeNot
            Coat

            Re: @andrew

            "Damn right, they wouldn't want to get lost whilst running away!"

            Ahem...it's not running away, it's "advancing in a rearward direction"...

        2. TeeCee Gold badge
          Facepalm

          Re: "reached its desired orbit."

          <Ker-thwack!> (nail on head sound).

          Good old-fashioned Gaullist dogma. Send a "screw you" message to the Americans, whatever the cost to you.

          Terribly nice of us all to pay for this monumental bureaucratic white elephant while already having our pips squeezed due to massive fiscal incompetence by the EU.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: "reached its desired orbit."

            "Good old-fashioned Gaullist dogma. Send a "screw you" message to the Americans, whatever the cost to you."

            The funny thing is that the French military already have their own separate navigation system anyway.

      3. Tom 13

        Re: We need Galileo.

        TeeCee isn't claiming you don't, just that even though you do, instead it's just another gravy train for the politically connected.

        1. ItsNotMe
          Coat

          Re: We need Galileo.

          And what about Figaro?

          Mine's the one with the Bohemian Rhapsody CD in the pocket.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: "reached its desired orbit."

      "The Galileo project is to rocket science"

      It never was about rocket science - and given this was a launch failure the save of birds 5&6 is a good thing.

      I'm still unsure if the EU will switch off their birds should the USA tell them to. Last I heard Uncle Sam was threatening to shoot the things out of the sky should the EU refuse.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "satellites orbit every 20 days compared to the rest of the constellation's ten"

      Yeah, I was just thinking that a 20 day orbit would put that bird in an orbit nearly 3/4 of the way to the moon.

  3. Jimmy2Cows
    Coat

    Small satellite, or a really big LED bulb?

    Body of the satellite looks exactly like my GU10 LED spot lights in that pic

    1. Nifty

      Re: Small satellite, or a really big LED bulb?

      I think that pic is the Lego version

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Small satellite, or a really big LED bulb?

      Body of the satellite looks exactly like my GU10 LED spot lights in that pic

      And when they all lase together - goodbye Moscow...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Figaro!

    He's just a poor boy...

    1. Fat-Boy-R-Dee

      Re: Figaro!

      I just wanted to thank El Reg for the earworm this morning ... well played, gentlemen, well played.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inservice dates anyone?

    This project has been a shambles from the start due to all the politics. They have plenty of related websites but I have been unable to find anything vaguely related to a schedule of service milestones with dates. It is funny because a related UK military comms satellite system featuring most of the same pan European companies was successfully deployed to a clear timetable on time and within budget.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Inservice dates anyone?

      True, but in fairness the military knew what they wanted, knew who to get in from, and how to implement their plan. Brussels on the other hand will have changed their mind about the spec 6 times, employed their half wit relatives as consultants, and blown most of the initial budget on junkets to Thailand and the other half on the then necessary penicillin.

      Having worked for a company with a multi billion pound government contact (railway renewal) I can honestly say I have never seen people know less about what they want our need yet so willing to throw (other people's) money at a problem. It was so bad we ended up changing to a cost plus billing model because they changed their mind so frequently. Genuinely huge amounts of money were routinely wasted. I wonder if it would be the same if the shortfall came from their pension fund.

      1. Ossi

        Re: Inservice dates anyone?

        OT I know, but I'm not surprised this was railway renewal. Who'd think that a privatised railway with huge bureaucratic intervention is perhaps not the best way to do things? Not our political classes, apparently.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Inservice dates anyone?

        "Brussels on the other hand will have changed their mind about the spec 6 times"

        The entire thing has been a work in progress.

        This hasn't been due so much an EU issue as mission creep on the commercial side, however the accuracy requirements weren't achievable when the first designs hit the drawing boards. As such much of the delays have been down to proving the base chassis and then working on better iterations of the nav side until it met the specs.

  6. macjules Silver badge

    And the point is?

    So we have an 'independent' GPS and satellite system. Great. Now, do we need to set up a liaison office in NATO to co-ordinate Galileo European member country surveillance systems with the US NRO, given how in Europe we have abrogated all responsibility for defence to the USA anyway?

  7. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    "Galileo good to go"

    Magnifico - o - o - o

  8. Sebastian A

    I presume

    that these maneuvers came at the cost of a significant amount of maneuvering fuel? What is the expected impact on its service life compared to one that was in the right orbit from the start?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: I presume

      "What is the expected impact on its service life"

      IIRC it's knocked about 5 years off the spec but the service life of this kind of bird usually ends up defined by electronics failure rather than fuel starvation (ion drives tend to be _way_ overspecced in fuel in any case)

  9. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    "The ESA says the new orbit mirrors that of Galileo Five, so that even though satellites orbit every 20 days compared to the rest of the constellation's ten, it now gets better coverage."

    ESA spokesdrones need more cowbell. That quote should have ended: "Exactly as planned."

    But: satellites don't form constellations. Constellations have to stay still over very long periods of time (or at least, long enough to draw some odd animal/human hybrid around them) or they aren't constellations. Satellites that stand still for any length of time end up as flaming chunks zooming over the Russian sky.

    I think the word the ESA is groping for is "formation". That describes a group of things up in the sky that moves about, often so fast a guided missile can't catch them.

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