Monday, August 25, 2014

Lost In Space

ArianeSpace has reported, in so many words, that the fifth and sixth satellites in the planned Galileo constellation, Europe's next generation Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), were placed in a wrong orbit. It's the oddest thing. This delays Galileo from achieving what the European Space Agency (ESA) refers to as Operational Capability, which would bring exciting new applications of GPS including 'guiding cars, running trains and landing aircraft'.

Galileo is planned to be the first interactive GPS service. It would be 'interoperable with [USA's] GPS and [Russia's] GLONASS'; would 'deliver real-time positioning accuracy down to the metre range'; would 'guarantee availability of the service under all but the most extreme circumstances'; would provide a 'global Search and Rescue function' that would relay distress signals to rescue coordination centres as well as a response informing the user that the signal had been detected and that help was on the way ... and would 'inform users within seconds of any satellite failure'. Unfortunately that last feature is probably working in overdrive at this time.

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