Big whoopee do.
as mentioned, one satellite won't do anything
Just great. Nothing like giving China an accurate targeting system
Ah, yes. The Europeans once again trying to be relevant. Lord knows, we don't want to have to rely on those damned Americans who have either kicked or saved our asses more than once.
Showing up to the party what..... 15 - 20 years late?
Must be nice having America around to do your R&D.
ETA: Anyone read "Cauldron" by Larry Bond? Going to happen, you know....
Well... we don't own space so there is really not much to be done about it is there?
Nothing really surprising about other countries not wanting their entire navigation system controlled by a foriegn power.... except.... well, they just have a collection of foriegn powers controlling it with this plan.
Nope. But that's why we have anti-satellite missiles.
I thought GPS was more precise than 16 feet.
Sure it will!
Of course, if they turn it off in Washington... There ain't no turning it back on...
GPS can be more accurate than 16 feet, from what I understand. The military degrades the signal somewhat for security reasons. As far as "doubling the worldwide coverage", I'm pretty sure the US GPS system covers more than half the planet (except for ultra high lattitudes), so this new system can't "Double" the coverage.
Also, I like the fact that they said it wouldn't be turned off except in the "direst emergencey".... kinda like the US GPS... dumbasses...
GPS worked at the South Pole just fine...
Hmm, I wonder if the USAF's Airborne Laser system can shoot down a satellite?
I thought the ABL was DOA. However, they should be duck shots for missile defense missiles.
The real concern here is could China take out GPS without affecting Galileo? And if they tried would the ESA shut down Galileo? Or alternately, could the US switch its receivers to use the Galileo signal?
There are two services from the US system--Standard Positioning system (SPS) and Precise positioning system (PPS) The military does not "degrade" the signal, rather they use cryptography to deny unauthorized users access to it. As far as accuracy, PPS is 22m horizontal and 27.7m vertical 95% of the time. So accuracy is expressed as a probability and quoting numbers is quite meaningless unless a probability is assigned to it. The Europeans probably launched their own system to control their own destiny. I'm not a big fan of the Europeans--F**k them is all I can think of.
It is sub centimeter with the right receivers and software.
Even when it's fully operational, it won't be significantly better than US GPS.
Plus, to approach the accuracy of enhanced US GPS (using DGPS or WAAS) you'll have to subscribe.
Chances are future commercial receivers will use GPS and Eurowhatever. Frankly, I'd like to have data from all three major satellite positioning systems on one device.
I wonder how much of a shitfit the French & Germans would have if we blasted their little toy out of orbit...
'Cuase if the last line ever becomes an issue, there's nothing up in space we can't bring back down to earth...
We've been able to knock those things down since the Cold War...
Q&A: Europe's Galileo project
By Jonathan Amos
BBC News science reporter
Europe is building its own satellite-navigation system called Galileo. BBC News looks at why such a network is deemed necessary when we already have the US Global Positioning System (GPS).
What is Galileo?
Galileo will be a global network of 30 satellites providing precise timing and location information to users on the ground and in the air. It is costing some 3.4bn euros (£2.3bn; $4bn) of public and private investment and represents the biggest space project yet undertaken in Europe.
Galileo's first demonstrator spacecraft was launched on 28 December; a second platform will follow in the New Year. They will trial the in-orbit technologies needed to run the system. These include atomic clocks, the heart of any global positioning system.
If all goes according to plan, a full constellation of Galileo satellites will be in operation by the end of 2010.
Why does Europe want Galileo?
On an important level, Galileo is a political project.
GALILEO UNDER CONSTRUCTION
A European Commission and European Space Agency project
30 satellites to be launched in batches by end of 2010
Will work alongside US GPS and Russian Glonass systems
Promises real-time positioning down to less than a metre
Guaranteed under all but most extreme circumstances
Suitable for safety-critical roles where lives depend on service
Like Airbus and the Ariane rocket programme, the new sat-nav system will assert Europe's independence. It will give EU countries guaranteed access to a service that is currently provided by a foreign (US) power.
GPS is a military-run programme; its signals can be degraded or switched off. Yes, the service is free, but its continuity and quality come with no guarantees - which means it cannot be relied upon, certainly not for safety-of-life applications such as landing planes and controlling trains.
Galileo will be a civil system. It will be run by a private consortium and will offer guaranteed levels of service.
How will Galileo differ from GPS?
As brilliant as GPS is, its accuracy and availability can on occasions leave a lot to be desired, as anyone who has a receiver will know. Sometimes it can be very difficult to get a fix and the accuracy can drift out to 10m or more.
The new Galileo system will offer five service levels (see below) and bring a step-change in performance. Since the first GPS satellite was launched in the late 1970s, sat-nav technology has evolved enormously.
Galileo should offer greater accuracy - down to a metre and less; greater penetration - in urban centres, inside buildings, and under trees; and a faster fix.
The Galileo system will also come with an "integrity" component - it will be able to tell users if there are major errors that could compromise performance.
Users will also benefit enormously from the agreement between Europe and the US to make their sat-nav systems compatible and "interoperable". That is, future receivers will be able to get a fix using satellites from either constellation.
And when the US introduces the next generation of GPS, users will see a further jump in performance.
HOW SATELLITE NAVIGATION WORKS
Satellite navigation systems determine a position by measuring the distances to at least three known locations - the Galileo satellites
The distance to one satellite defines a sphere of possible solutions; the distance to three defines a single, common area
The accuracy of the distance measurements determines how small the common area is and thus the accuracy of the final location
In practice, a receiver captures atomic-clock time signals sent from the satellites and converts them into the respective distances
Time measurement is improved by including the signal from a fourth satellite. 'Galileo time' is monitored from the ground
What will Galileo be used for?
The central component of sat-nav is precise timing. The atomic clocks flown on the spacecraft keep near-perfect time, equivalent to the theoretical loss of one second over several thousand years.
This precision timing already plays a fundamental but often neglected role not just in navigation, but also in electricity distribution, the functioning of email and the internet, and in the security of financial transactions.
THE SAT-NAV FUTURE
Navigation for navigation's sake will not drive applications
Uptake pushed forward by services that add value to data
Huge potential for internet-linked services run off mobiles
E.g. finding a restaurant, and directing you to nearest ATM
Multimedia delivered to tourists' mobiles as they walk around
'Guardian angel' services will locate separated children
Possibilities are endless; mobile firms already brainstorming
Database and billing companies planning for large markets
Galileo's improved clocks - their precision is 10 times better than current space-qualified clocks - will deepen and extend this role.
The better penetration, accuracy and guarantees of service should also give many more entrepreneurs the confidence to build business plans around sat-nav.
With sat-nav capability increasingly incorporated into mobile devices, there is likely to be an explosion in new applications. Many of these will be quite novel and unexpected uses for sat-nav.
Nonetheless, the transport sector will obviously be a big beneficiary. Industry will derive major efficiency gains through better management of supply chains and haulage fleets.
Galileo will deliver the tools national governments need to introduce wide-scale road charging.
Galileo will also underpin Europe's new air-traffic control system. The single European sky initiative will overhaul current technologies used to keep planes at safe separations, and allow pilots to fly their own routes and altitudes.
Is Galileo worth the cost?
Europe's member states have had reservations about the cost from the outset - and, in particular, the uncertainties that exist about what the precise end cost will be.
This prompted one sceptic to dub Galileo the "common agricultural policy of the sky".
There is also debate about the true scale of the revenue opportunities available. Who will want to pay for Galileo-enhanced services and how much will they be prepared to pay?
GPS was built at considerable cost by the US taxpayer but the returns for the American economy mean that investment has been repaid many times over.
All of Europe's big aerospace companies have been attracted to the Galileo project because they believe similar, if not better, returns can be achieved with an improved system.
Analyst forecasts talk of more than 100,000 new jobs being created in Europe, with eventually billions of sat-nav users worldwide generating revenues that are in the order of tens of billions of euros each year.
THE FIVE GALILEO SERVICES
NAVIGATION Open Access This will be 'free to air' and for use by the mass market; Simple timing and positioning down to 1m
Commercial Encrypted; High accuracy at the cm scale; Guaranteed service for which service providers will charge fees
Safety of life Open service; For applications where guaranteed accuracy is essential; Integrity messages warn of errors
Public regulated Encrypted; Continuous availability even in time of crisis; Government agencies will be main users
SAR Search and Rescue System will pick up distress beacon locations; Feasible to send feedback, confirming help is on its way
It appears to be somewhat more hi-tech than GPS, which makes sense as it is being built now rather then in the 1980s and 90s.
Uh-oh... it looks like GPS will be PoWned...
Rather, it will have the 'OFF switch' in Paris...