back to article Remember when Europe’s entire Galileo satellite system fell over last summer? No you don’t. The official stats reveal it never happened

It was a devastating blow to the credibility of Europe’s Galileo satellite project: the navigation system fell over during an upgrade in July, requiring a reboot that took six days. Now it appears it officially never happened. Billions of organizations, individuals, phones, gizmos, apps, and so on, across the globe simply …

  1. jrd

    WTF?

    Hold on - are they really saying the availability target for a GPS system is 75%?

    I would imagine most users would be expecting something closer to 99.99%.

    Especially if you're using it to navigate aircraft and the like.

    If I had a ballpoint pen that only worked 75% of the time, I'd throw it away.

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      This is what you get when the people responsible for keep the system up and running gets to write their own SLA! Of course they're gonna set the bar low enough that even when they fsck up their bonuses are still ensured.

    2. Idy

      Re: WTF?

      Not only that, but being HAPPY that it met 75%!

      Sure you might have arranged a lovely 75% figure in your KPI reports, but that doesn't mean you should be aiming for that.

    3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      Actually, sorry, it's 77%. Not 75%. Small difference but important to get right.

      C.

      1. Tom7

        Re: WTF?

        Ah, yes, the vaunted "two sevens" reliability standard.

        1. bazza Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          Nothing wrong with that. Some of my code just about manages to get there...

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        As a yardstick measure, does anyone know what the SLA is on the Starfleet Command United States Space Force GPS system?

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: WTF?

          Bi percent. tThe biggest. Bigly available.

        2. bazza Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          Dunno what the SLA is, but the service up-time is pretty much 100% thus far. I suspect that most of the "problems" encountered with GPS are external to the system (jammers / spoofer in particular).

        3. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          During war or outside it? Oh, and please define "war". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quasi-War

          1. Loatesy

            Re: WTF?

            "Re: WTF?

            During war or outside it? Oh, and please define "war". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quasi-War"

            War: A police action but with larger and more well-known cast and a bigger budget. Often confused with Regime Change which is essentially a one-man insurgency.

            Insurgency: A mini police action (or larger regime change) involving filthy unwashed savages (AKA porr people) and a Slash'n'Burn foreign policy involving giving million dollar-pound contracts to your own bezzies.

    4. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      In a previous job, we had various SLAs. Most systems were on "5 9s" (99.999%). Some less important systems were 99%. One particular system, known to be less reliable but also less important, was given a very low bar to meet: 95%.

      77% would have lost any of us our bonus, even for a system we knew was going to fall over regularly.

      On top of this, all of them had terms in the SLA which measured the length of any one period of down time, as well as ones dealing with both average and per incident downtime on individual machines within the system.

      The people who wrote the SLAs have certainly set themselves an incredibly low bar...

      1. rmason Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        MY bonus is related to the performance of the company, not of my department.

        So If I provided *any* system with an uptime of below 80% my / our bonus would be safe. Assuming that badly performing system didn't affect the performance of the company that is.

        Yes, my bonus would be entirely safe. I would however lose my job which, last time I checked, did affect my bonus payment.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF?

        "On top of this, all of them had terms in the SLA which measured the length of any one period of down time, as well as ones dealing with both average and per incident downtime on individual machines within the system."

        On one customer I had, any breached SLA would trigger a counter, by which you HAD to get back the said SLA in order for a number of months or face an early contract termination with no penalty.

        Clearly, ESA doesn't play in the same play field !

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        "The people who wrote the SLAs have certainly set themselves an incredibly low bar."

        This isn't a bar, it's a trip hazard.

        1. Psmo Bronze badge

          Re: WTF?

          Thanks for the chuckle. Noted for a future conversation.

        2. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          Perhaps that explains the downtime.

          The whole systems tripped over the low level SLA someone left lying around on the floor.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF?

        In my place it's irrelevant what our SLAs say. The Drama Phone rings and we get shouted at the instant there's an outage, and it doesn't stop until everything is working again...

        1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          It stops then?

          What do you do, take the phone of the hook?

          In my experience the phone still rings for ages after the problems fixed.

      5. Unicornpiss Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: WTF?

        77% is a "C+" average in USA schools, or basically a "You're doing alright, but there's much room for improvement." But don't expect to be an astronaut. Or doctor or engineer (at least not a good one) However, you still may have a future on a L1 Helpdesk, in the burger n' fries industry, or as a reality TV star and/or self-serving, megalomaniac, cuntish world leader. Your success is only limited by how mercenary you are, how little scruples you have, and how willing you are to get ahead by treading on other people's backs.

    5. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      If I had a ballpoint pen that only worked 75% of the time, I'd throw it away.

      Unless you'd paid so much money for it that it would be a huge public embarrassment for it to be seen to be less than great. Then you'd find some excuse, and make out like your pen was fine all along.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        More likely you'd take t to wherever you bought it and demand your money back. Loudly enough for any other customers to hear.

    6. Trygve Henriksen
      Coat

      Re: WTF?

      I'm leftanded, so ball-point pens have 75% or less reliability.

      Which is why I prefer felt-tip pens...

      Mine's the one with maps and a compass in the pocket...

      1. S4qFBxkFFg
        Joke

        Re: WTF?

        "I'm leftanded, so ball-point pens have 75% or less reliability."

        You're obviously writing in the wrong direction; several years ago, with a broken shoulder, I tried going left-handed for writing - the results were predictably terrible. However, changing to right-to-left writing sorted it (and was surprisingly easy).

        The fact that all the letters were backwards was a minor inconvenience.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          Holding it wrong.

        2. atheist

          Re: WTF?

          I too like my tip being felt. Roller ball's too.

        3. Trygve Henriksen

          Re: WTF?

          If I write something, I usually do it because I want someone to read it. and right-to-left writing tends to confuse people.

          I prefer felt-tip because when you write left-to-right with your left hand, you're pushing against the paper with the pen, and that really fucks up the ball of ball-points.

        4. mickaroo

          Re: WTF?

          You're obviously not a professional lefty...

          You turn the page upside down and write right-to-left with the letters inverted.

          When you turn the page right-way-up, everything is just dandy.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Siberian Hamster

        Re: WTF?

        Trygve Henriksen

        Reply Icon

        Coat

        Re: WTF?

        I'm leftanded, so ball-point pens have 75% or less reliability.

        Which is why I prefer felt-tip pens...

        Mine's the one with maps and a compass in the pocket...

        Those who downvoted this please enlighten me, I have no idea why anyone would be so enraged by this post feel the need to downvote it.

        I am genuinely interested.

        Thanks

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          Do you imagine that upvotes and downvotes are somehow important t?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WTF?

          да забей, делов-то

        3. Trygve Henriksen

          Re: WTF?

          Assholes will be assholes. Simple as that.

          Now, if this site let us see who up or downvoted posts...

          I do believe that only a coward and sleazebag will ever downvote without posting the reason for it.

    7. Danny 5

      Re: WTF?

      First thing that came to mind!

      I'm an Exchange engineer, I manage a couple on prem environments. My availability targets range from 95% (cheap customer that didn't want full redundancy) and 99.9% (fully redundant, split datacenter, multiple lines per datacenter, full DAG, multiple databases copies, you name it), 77% is utterly ridiculous for a system like that.

      1. Dabooka

        Re: WTF?

        77% is poor for Northern Rail.

        The more I read of stuff like this the more I think we're possibly better off out of the project anyway.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          77% is poor an aspiration for Northern Rail.

          FTFY

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: WTF?

          But considered the stuff of dreams for southern rail...

      2. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        I manage an Exchange box set up by a chimp, ignoring hardware requirements, best practice and common sense with zero redundancy.

        It has had 4 hours downtime in the last year, which is 99.95% availability.

        99.9% reliability allows 8h 45m 57s downtime a year, and I think that's absurdly low point to aim for. But yeah, 77%? That's a different universe.

    8. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      The system should have 99.9+ reliability...

      Each individual satellite might have lower - but 75% does still seem very low (unless they have decided that they can't measure it over the pacific, so they'll just assume that it's down...

      (Note I've not actually read the report yet)

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        hmm but the article mentioned the issue was on land rather than with the satelittes!

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: WTF?

          Doesn't matter where the problem was/is, it us the same principle. Remember RAID? For Galileo they probably developed nsRAED: not so Redundant Array of Expensive Devices.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF?

        unless they have decided that they can't measure it over the pacific, so they'll just assume that it's down...

        Saying something is down just because you can't monitor it is dishonest. I prefer to use accurate statistics. The number of confirmed faults was only 1 all year.

        I can't help but think of my university IT department. It was well known that it took 15+ minutes to log on to university computers (even quad cores with 16GB RAM). At certain times of the week logging in could take over an hour. The problem had probably been reported individually by pretty much every lecturer at least once, as well as numerous students, with all tickets closed as "unable to reproduce".

        The school of computing actually enacted an autonomy clause in the regulations so they could take over complete management of several computing labs not used by other courses, and install their own windows images that did not have the problem. It had apparently been that way for at least 2 years by the time I opened a support ticket myself "to add to the ticket count" and the ticket was again closed as unable to reproduce.

        I re-opened the ticket with words to the effect of "Please walk to any lab, lecture theatre or classroom and try logging in yourself before closing the ticket", the response came the following week in the form of a university-wide email about a recently discovered issue with slow logins... I suspect their end of year report stated that they only had 1 confirmed performance-impacting issue.

    9. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      Imagine if your attendance for your job was 75%.

      You'd be either be on the dole or working in the public sector.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: WTF?

        Somebody on long term sick from their public sector job has downvoted my comment.

        I didn't see that coming...

        1. gypsythief

          Re: WTF?

          I can't figure out what to say to this. Ah, you're not worth it.

        2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: WTF?

          This is amazing. In response to this comment, some lunatic has gone through the last three months of my old posts and downvoted them all. That's incredible commitment to being insane.

      2. Pirate Dave Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: WTF?

        " working in the public sector."

        Where your job would be drawing the charts for reports that praise 77% uptime.

      3. PeterKr

        Re: WTF?

        According to my old boss, I have 71% attendence (5/7). That's the reason why they don't like giving reasonable amounts of vacation time.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF?

      Remember, it's still in beta. So what would be nice to know, and is not said here: will this be the production target too, or is it only the target during the beta, while the constellation is still incomplete?

      1. David Shaw

        Re: WTF?

        I'm not sure when the Galileo beta ends - but there was a sensible Q BTL about GPS and the availability targets of GNSS as a whole.

        A few years ago , when we all just relied on the impressive GPS space vehicles and their civ SPOF L1 frequency, I was able to demonstrate in a scientific paper turning off the ████████ nuclear ████████ at ████████ by use of a ████████ banana. Then I was able to ████████ disable the entire country of ████████ by ████████ ████████ ████████ and that GPS banana.

        So I'm quite happy with anything other than SPOF (single point of failure), roll on Brexit-sat-UK-nav and all, and I'd like all the historic time/signal/nav's restored too, as backup-backup, and Droitwich moved back 2KHz HF, etc etc

        1. AlbertH

          Re: WTF?

          Wouldn't it be lovely to have Droitwich back at its rated power and 2 kHz higher? A wonderfully accurate, utterly reliable frequency reference!

    11. jmch Silver badge

      Re: WTF?

      "If I had a ballpoint pen that only worked 75% of the time, I'd throw it away."

      You wouldn't if it were a solid gold Mont Blanc. I suspect a similar principle applies here.

    12. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF?

      To be fair, the availability target is only 75% during Initial Operational Capability, but rises to the astonishing height of 90% (monthly) once the system reaches Full Operational Capability.

      But if you think that’s bad, wait until you find out that they want to provide a safety-of-life emergency beacon service too (for mountain rescue et al), which *also* is allowed to have three days off a month. Yes, really.

  2. OssianScotland Silver badge
    Mushroom

    European Space SLAs

    I just assumed their SLA was the same as (allegedly) Werner Von Braun's....

    .... when asked about the reliability of one of his creations, he didn't have a clue, so turned to some colleagues

    "Hans, do you zee any problem vis zis rocket?" "Nein, Mein Fuh... er... Herr Doktor"

    "Johann, do you?" "Nein"

    Eventually "Sir, ve haf a reliability of five neins"

    Icon - hard choices - that, or a beer to Tom Lehrer

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: European Space SLAs

      I believe many of his colleagues were named Hans. After all we all know the old saying about many Hans!

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        Re: European Space SLAs

        I believe many of his colleagues were named Hans.

        Indeed - they were all employed on the optical guidance system....many Hans make light work

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: European Space SLAs

          What about the canteen assistant? Hans that does dishes?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: European Space SLAs

            What about the canteen assistant? Hans that does dishes?

            That would be the particularly weak & spineless character who works with his French colleague.

            Hans that does dishes is as soft as Gervais

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: European Space SLAs

              Gervais the chef? Who was unable to prepare a calamari salad using the locally sourced, non-farmed seafood delicacy, moustachioed inkfish verdi?

              He couldn't bring himself to kill the animal, and neither could the dishwasher.

              Yes, Hans that does dishes IS as soft as Gervais, with wild green hairy lipped squid.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: European Space SLAs

                "Hans that does dishes IS as soft as Gervais, with wild green hairy lipped squid."

                Ooooh, I don't think I've heard that punch-line in a bout 40 years!

    2. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: European Space SLAs

      # "Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?

      That's not my department" say Wernher von Braun #

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Re: European Space SLAs

        I always thought he said something along the lines of - The rocket w**ked perfectly except for landing on the wrong planet.

        1. DavidRa

          Re: European Space SLAs

          's water music was referencing a song by Tom Lehrer, "Wernher von Braun".

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I heard

    That the problem was actually with the atomic clocks in the ground station(s): they did a firmware patch to fix the issue that caused identical modules on the satellites to fail and it went horribly wrong.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I heard

      The support contract for ground infrastructure at Darmstadt changed provider about 2 years ago I believe, at least I went for an interview in mid 2017, so maybe some knowledge was lost in the transfer?

  4. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Will no one think of the TITSUP?

    Total Inability To Supply Useful Poistioning

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Will no one think of the TITSUP?

      Total Inability To Spellcheck Under Pressure?

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        Re: Will no one think of the TITSUP?

        Fumblefingered as charged, sirrah!

  5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Outrage?

    I've have thought that even mild surprise was a bit excessive. EU politicians and bureaucrats are past masters of making numbers say what they want, the single currency would never have got off the ground without it. Nothing will be allowed to interfere with the Great Project, certainly not some "fake news" about an systems outage. Cover it up & it'll soon be forgotten.

    That said, "a context of temporary limitation of redundancy” is worthy of the BOFH himself! I'm sure I can find somewhere to use it in a report.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Outrage?

      Odd that nobody's mentioned the Soviet Union and tractors.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Outrage?

      That said, "a context of temporary limitation of redundancy” is worthy of the BOFH himself!

      The phrase put me more in mind of the linguistic gymnastics of the great Sir Humprey Appleby

  6. dvhamme

    I think the article would be much improved if it focused on how unreasonably low a target uptime of 75% is, rather than claiming "high school level stat manipulation". Average uptime over the course of a month is what it is, nothing was manipulated here.

    Basically the performance targets were designed so that one week of downtime EVERY month is acceptable, which clearly is not what the end users consider acceptable.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      "how unreasonably low a target uptime of 75%"

      1. We like to think it's obvious to Reg readers that 75% (it's actually 77) is low. Didn't seem worth making too much hay about it.

      2. Kieren wrote 3 great articles on Tuesday, and we at the back edited a load more. We're always pushed for time, there are always improvements and extra work that can be done, and we have to ship a product at some point. Sometimes you have to call it and run it, and move onto the next thing that needs covering.

      C.

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: "how unreasonably low a target uptime of 75%"

        Thank for you that, please do carry on!

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Prime Timely Targets in Novel Situations

        We're always pushed for time, there are always improvements and extra work that can be done, though we have to ship a product at some point. Sometimes you have to call it and run it, and move onto the next thing that needs covering. ..... diodesign/ElReg/C

        Quite so, and very commendable too. Such make the pages here so attractive, and some would even venture, excitingly addictive. And there are not many operations that can truthfully say that, methinks. I do have a question though. Does ElReg lead with anything which could be/would be viewed exclusively and uniquely realised and shared as theirs*, or are they always following and reporting on the lead of others.

        * :-) That is at least until such times as an offer for source they cannot refuse is received and graciously accepted, for such consistently appears to be the norm in those particular and peculiar circumstances, so it must be fully expected and ideally prepared for. :-)

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: Prime Timely Targets in Novel Situations

          There is a special AI-driven deep state hidden feature to get you a list here. Only a few people know it exists so keep it quite quiet.

        2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Prime Timely Targets in Novel Situations

          ElReg does quite abit of its own reporting things like the HP Vs Autonomy, it's ongoing attempts at accessing Apple launches (is it not getting on for time to try again eh lads/lasses/other?) as well as regular columns like Something for the weekend/BOFH and irregular columns like Geeks Guide to Britain (seriously, please keep up with that one as they're fascinating, insightful and well written).

          Not everything is piped marketing... And even the ones that do are usually written with enough salt to worry a cardiograph machine.

          I do however wish we could find out what the fate of LOHAN is though considering the triumph over Paris /sigh.

      3. AndrueC Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: "how unreasonably low a target uptime of 75%"

        2. Kieren wrote 3 great articles on Tuesday, and we at the back edited a load more. We're always pushed for time, there are always improvements and extra work that can be done, and we have to ship a product at some point. Sometimes you have to call it and run it, and move onto the next thing that needs covering.

        As long as 78% of them are correct you're doing better than Galileo.

      4. Peter X
        Trollface

        Re: "how unreasonably low a target uptime of 75%"

        We're always pushed for time, there are always improvements and extra work that can be done, and we have to ship a product at some point. Sometimes you have to call it and run it, and move onto the next thing that needs covering.

        So you're basically saying that your performance chart is currently solid green? :D

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "move onto the next thing"

        "Sometimes you have to call it and run it, and move onto the next thing that needs covering."

        Seems fair in general. But if people+coverage (and therefore costs) are the opportunity....

        Are there likely to be any ex-Inquirer staff looking for work at the moment, maybe not too fussed about the money, maybe available at short notice?

    2. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
      Trollface

      One week a month downtime?

      How about a solid 3 months (without doing the maths I assume this would have to include February to hit the 77%).

  7. Scott Broukell
    Coat

    I really don't know where I stand on this.

    <mine's the one with the paper maps in the pocket>

    1. Chris 216
      Pint

      Chapeau Sir!

  8. Chris G Silver badge

    A GPS system

    That lacks direction.

    It looks as though for any serious user, they will need the redundancy of the US system rather than rely on the alleged redundancies that Galileo may have.

    I still memorise a map before going on a journey with a route that is new to me and obviously take it with me.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: A GPS system

      I do use Nag Nav, but being a bit of an old fart I look at the route before I set off so I know where I'm going. That way, if there are problems on the route, or the Nag Nav gives up, I have rough idea of what to do.

      I've heard several stories of friends who solely relied on Nag Nav and then getting in a panic when its battery dies and they have no idea where they are or how to get to where they're going. And, have you heard, that Nag Navs aren't always right?

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: A GPS system

        Odd that your friends' Nag Navs run on batteries. I actually got my satnav because the Nag Nav always fell asleep and started snoring after 30 minutes

        Sorry, couldn't resist. I'd better be going

      2. Speltier

        Re: A GPS system

        Well, they should always be right, because lefts cross traffic (although not in the UK) which are far more dangerous. Perhaps that was the problem, someone used UK units instead of non-UK units of direction so the sats all took a turn for the worse?

  9. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Actually Galileo has reached its most important goal

    Since the planing of Galileo both Russia and China have created their own satellite-based navigation system. Most mobile phones today support all 3 fully operational systems now, and they are all operated by different entities meaning that even if one decides that Europe is evil, there are still 2 other systems.

    1. beast666

      Re: Actually Galileo has reached its most important goal

      The EU is evil, not Europe.

  10. Giovani Tapini Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Isn't it amazing

    how poorly (or perhaps with genius artifice) contractual KPIs can be set up by the uninformed and then abused to ensure that a supplier can never, under any circumstances, ever fail to be officially delivering.

    It's not a scenario limited to Galileo but I would have thought with such a high value project that the targets may have been, perhaps a tad, more ambitious...

    Poorly considered targets can create issues or directly and actively drive improper behaviour in many areas of industry and life - this is just another example.

    Now if only I can get paid per line of code again...

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Isn't it amazing

      Now if only I can get paid per line of code again...

      Or per bugfix ?

    2. Norman Nescio

      Re: Isn't it amazing

      You are quite right. I'm not sure who the actual customer (organisation paying for) Galileo is*, but whichever organisation it is, I'm sure it would benefit from better definitions of the SLA/KPIs so that the end users are not mislead into expecting better performance than is actually available.

      It may well be that at its current stage of roll-out/development**, the KPIs for the Galileo system are appropriate: but Joe Public (including me) tends to think that if it is 'available', then it should be available all of the time, and not just for a carefully described average amount of time.

      The project may well be a technological tour-de-force, but a long and public outage doesn't look good, especially with what looks bureaucratic obfuscation surrounding it.

      I have no doubt the service will improve, but the public perceptions need to be managed far, far better.

      NN

      *Ultimately, it is the European taxpayer, but there is some sort of commissioning organisation.

      **When will Galileo reach the Final Operational Capability (FOC)?

      Galileo performance will gradually be improved and new services will be introduced as further spacecraft are launched.

      The full constellation is expected to be available by 2020. When the full constellation is in orbit and usable, the Full Operational Capability stage will be declared.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Isn't it amazing

        The actual customer of Galileo, the EU, is very pleased, as the whole point of the vanity project wasn't so much as to end up with a working navigation system, but to ensure that surpluses from the common agricultural policy weren't returned to the member states. This then sets a precedent on misappropriating other funds for whatever new shiny shiny takes their fancy.

        1. 96percentchimp

          Re: Isn't it amazing

          Pretty sure this is nonsense and Galileo was directly funded by the member states as a combined ESA/EU project. I'm sure you have a reliable source?

        2. druck Silver badge

          Re: Isn't it amazing

          A quick googling reveals:-

          https://sciencebusiness.net/news/71710/Agriculture-raided-to-fund-Galileo-and-EIT

          http://www.defense-aerospace.com/articles-view/release/3/86182/european-commission-to-unveil-galileo-financing-plan.html

          https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL098161/Brussels-digs-deep-for-Galileo-cash

          Shall I go on?

      2. Justthefacts

        Re: Isn't it amazingE

        “ The full constellation is expected to be available by 2020.“

        That’s what the Galileo website says, but it’s the most hilarious nonsense.

        The facts are: Currently, Galileo has 22 working spacecraft. Full Operational Capability requires 24 satellites *plus 6 orbiting spares, otherwise the next satellite failure loses service until the next launch*. Each orbital plane requires a separate spare (too much fuel required to change orbital plane), and they are sent up as pairs in each launch which have to go to the same orbital plane (fuel again).

        Hence, the constellation isn’t reliable until there are 30 up there. We are eight spacecraft short of a full deck at the moment.

        Unfortunately, the launch schedule only allows for four satellites per year, and only one launch (two satellites) by end 2020. And by the way, because of satellites already failed in different planes, it will be end of 2021 before there is a proper constellation up there at all. At the planned launch cadence, they won’t be able to declare Full Operational Capability (resilient to failure), until end 2024

        Except that it gets much, much worse. By 2024, the first satellites ever launched will be end-of-life (12 year lifetime!) and retired. So we will need the 2025 satellites to replace those.... and then the next satellites will be end-of-life and retiring....so we need to wait until 2026, and.....well I think you get the picture now.

        The launch cadence schedule simply isn’t expected to catch up with the older dying spacecraft any time during the current so-called “transition” series of Galieo spacecraft up to 2030. The situation is due normal project delays, which have consequences when you are trying to keep up with aging satellites in orbit.There’s another series of 12 spacecraft supposed to go up post 2030 or sometime, but that’s not fully planned or budgeted yet.

        Now, that’s the *optimistic version*, where the spacecraft achieve their 12 year planned lifetime. Actually, there are systemic onboard clock problems, which means that we expect two or three of the spacecraft already up there to fail several years earlier than lifetime. And, historically, sometimes satellite launches sometimes fail, as one of them already has, and that’s *also* not included in the plan.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Isn't it amazing

      "how poorly (or perhaps with genius artifice) contractual KPIs can be set up by the uninformed"

      Nothing uninformed about setting them up. Accepting them, however...

  11. Norman Nescio

    SLA

    This is why reading and understanding the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for any service you intend to rely upon is a Very Good Idea. As Galileo is still in the "Initial Open Service", it is not intended for 'primetime' use. Despite that, lots of people are using it anyway, assuming that availability now means it will continue to be available in the future. It's very kind of them to act as testing guinea-pigs.

    Lots of companies sign up for SLAs with telecomms service providers, cloud services, IT service providers and the like without fully understanding the SLAs buried deep within the contracts.

    I have met some 'interesting' SLAs in my time. How about 'guaranteed service restoration within 48 hours of an outage'? So when things failed at 16:00 on Friday, you'd expect service back by 16:00 on Sunday? Well, it turned out that the outage clock only ticked during 'normal working hours', deemed to be 09:00-17:00 Mon-Fr, so 48 hours after 16:00 on Friday was...16:00 on the Monday after the next weekend - a whole working week and a day after the outage actually occurred. Of course, those signing the contract thought they would get service back at latest 48 real-time hours later.

    Another fun SLA was an availability SLA which defined how availability would be measured. The contract stated that a particular procedure would be used, which happened to be the same as the procedure used to demonstrate a service was working before acceptance. Which sounds good. There were two problems with this: firstly, the test procedure could only be carried out while the service was not in production use; and secondly the SLA specified an annual availability, which could only be measured (according to the contract) by having the service run the acceptance procedure for a year.

    The conclusion is that contractual SLAs should be read very, very carefully, and you should make sure that you and the supplier have a common understanding of the SLA. Which is horribly boring, and means that you should probably give up on assuming 'good faith', because high performance levels usually require lots of money and resources, which suppliers are loath to give away cheaply.

    The current (issued in May 2019) Service Description for Galileo is here: EUROPEAN GNSS (GALILEO) : OPEN SERVICE DEFINITION DOCUMENT. Section 3 goes into detail on the Minimum Performance Levels (MPLs) of the service, with section 3.4.4 specifically describing the availability of the Galileo positioning service*: which, summarised, is greater than or equal to 70% calculated over a period of 30 days at the worst user location.

    With my jaded experienced eye, I can see that averaging availability over 30 days is the usual trick for making a service provider's life easier. As a service user, you want the averaging period for a service's availability to be as short as possible - so if you are billed monthly, you, as a user, want the availability to exceed the agreed level averaged over (say) a rolling 24 hour period, and if it drops below the target in any 24 hour period during the billing cycle, the target for the cycle is not met. Or if 24 hours is too long, a rolling hourly period. Suppliers really don't like that.

    So, yes, the Galileo SLA has been carefully written to mean that Galileo has a very good chance of meeting its targets. Depending on your point of view, this either means that the SLA writers in Galileo were on the ball, or that they are deliberately massaging the figures (in advance, remember, this was published in May 2019) to make themselves look good. Read the next version of the Galileo Open Service Definition document carefully.

    *Note, the MPL for the Galileo UTC Time Dissemination service is better than or equal to 87%, calculated over a period of 30 days. It failed to meet its target in July (see pages 12 and 13 of the report), reaching only 81.7%

    The MPL of 87%9specified by [OS-SDD] for the long term is therefore not achieved in July, while it is in August and September. This is again a side effect of the occurred incident (ref.:Annex A).

    [OSS-SDD] European GNSS (Galileo) Open Service Definition Document (OS-SDD), Issue 1.1, European Union, May 2019.

    Issue 1.1 of the [OS-SDD] is in force since May 2019. This version is accessible for download from the European GNSS Service Centre (GSC) website.

  12. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    I suppose Galileo isn't actually considered to be complete yet, which is why the bar is so low?

    It sort of highlights how much of a vanity project it is when it can disappear for a week with no-one noticing.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Except this was an operations fsck up on the ground that would have taken our the entire constellation

      1. ZanzibarRastapopulous

        It's still shit.

  13. imanidiot Silver badge

    77% is ridiculously low

    But keep in mind the Galileo network is officially in "Early Operational Capability" which might explain why the bar is set so low currently. I suspect this number will go up when the network goes into Full Operational Capability.

    1. dave 81

      Re: 77% is ridiculously low

      Might it go as high as 88%?

  14. toffer99

    So was it the Americans, Russians or Chinese?

  15. TRT Silver badge

    Questions need to be asked...

    Did we fly to the moon too soon?

    Did we squander the chance?

    In the rush of the race is the reason we chase lost in romance?

    And still we try to justify the waste for a taste of man's greatest adventure.

    I blame you for the moonlit sky and the dream that died with the eagles' flight.

    I blame you for the moonlit night, when I wonder why are the seas still dry?

    Have we got what it takes to advance?

    Have we peaked too soon?

    Have we got what it takes to carry the weight of this concept?

    Or pass it by like a shot in the dark? Miss the mark with a sense of adventure?

    I blame you, sleeping satellite.

  16. John Sturdy
    WTF?

    Sounds like a job for Wikileaks

    I hope that the internal documentation gets out before long.

  17. Luke Worm
    Facepalm

    So in everyday language, the Galileo system can be totally non-functional for a whole week every month and that's completely ok ? Good thing we are exiting this kind of EU systems.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      @Luke Worm

      Good job there are alternatives

  18. Len
    Holmes

    The solution is simple

    I can understand the low 77% level during the testing phase (though, why 77 and not just 75?)

    The solution as we are moving towards to fully operational phase should be simple. By summer this year we raise that to 80%. By the end of the year to 90% and the summer of next year 95%. If some division then complains that the percentage is impossible to maintain you know where you need to look at improvements.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: The solution is simple

      "I can understand the low 77% level during the testing phase (though, why 77 and not just 75?)"

      They probably calculated it in Imperial Units then converted to Metric, less the rounding errors.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What else do you expect from the Eurocrats?

    This sort of buffoonery is why the EU should be disbanded and forgotten as a very bad idea - it is a bunch of middle managers who somehow got themselves into positions of power well beyond their capabilities and now use any means necessary to keep control.

    And before any Remoaners start ranting about how wonderful the whole thing is and how stupid we are to leave, remember this - negotiations rely on two sides engaging in reasonable dialogue so don't blame the UK government when the Eurocrats refuse to do anything except repeat endlessly the same demand that we give them practically everything and they give us virtually nothing that they have been making since the whole Article 50 debacle started. That they think it acceptable to offer worse terms than standard WTO terms to someone who, just a few months ago, was supposedly such a vital part of their organisation shows what a bunch of childish, petulant brats they really are - and certainly not a group that should be ruining what should be one of, if not the, biggest economy on the planet.

  20. HildyJ Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Rocket science

    Rocket Science is hard and exacting. Kudos to the boffins who try to make it work.

    Rocket Management and Rocket Government, OTOH, should be hard and exacting but in the spirit of "any manager can manage anything" and "all problems can be solved by a well written report and press release" they have become something less . . . a lot less.

  21. Steve Todd

    It’s not yet a production system

    It’s in test, in order to find the bugs and qualify the system. As such it doesn’t need 5 or more 9’s reliability. Once it goes live THEN you can scream about any outages.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It’s not yet a production system

      I think you are in for a shock.

      The availability target for the “production system” is still only 90%, averaged monthly.

      But anyway who are you going to “scream” to?

      At least with the US GPS system, there is a well-used problem reporting system, and there are people who you can contact to find out what the hell’s going on, if you have a real need (say, for example, you are the captain of an oil tanker nearing port......)

      One kicker with the Galileo outage was that we discovered Galileo basically just has a Commissioner with his out-of-office on for a month, plus a marketing-droid with a Twitter account. That’s it. There is literally nobody who knows anything. Not much help if you are captaining an oil tanker.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Red-Green Color Blindness

    Could this be a requirement for Galileo senior management? Red - nope, I can't see any red. Everything looks green to me!

  23. IGotOut

    it's not even live...

    Put in computing terms this is still in Alpha testing, so that level of uptime is fine.

  24. I am David Jones
    FAIL

    And the Brexit Positioning System?

    With a view to surpassing Gallileo’s amateurish attempts, I hear they will initially aim for a minimum of 80% downtime, increasing over time to 95% and then up to the fabled 99%.

    1. I am David Jones
      Joke

      Re: And the Brexit Positioning System?

      Hmm, to signal a joke or not... I dithered and had to make do with this bodge :)

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: And the Brexit Positioning System?

      No, gov.uk will set a minimum performance level, then when it's not met, will adjust the performance level down such that it can be met. <cough>NHS</cough>

  25. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    77% is a crappy target, but...

    Isn't this still in the test/deployment phase? I would certainly hope that when it goes into "production mode", then the targets would get upped by 22.999% or so...

  26. Narwhal

    US GPS STATUS

    Interesting GPS status reports.

    https://navcen.uscg.gov

  27. mark4155

    Red Spell Danger!

    Dear EU commission,

    I recently sent you some performance figures relating to Galileo related stuff.

    Due to budgetary constraints (i.e. no money till next dole day) my printer ran out of Red ink so I had to use another primary colour, green.

    Sorry about any confusion etc.

    Yours insincerely.

    Mr F Mercury.

    PS. In 18 hours time I shall no longer be an EU citizen and will be applying for a shiny new blue passport, so to get to the point I don't really give a rats arse either way.

    Toodle Pip Old Bean.

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