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EU's GPS satellites have been down for four days in mysterious outage

ZDNet logo ZDNet 14/07/2019 Catalin Cimpanu
a satellite orbiting the earth with illuminated cities at night © Getty Images/iStockphoto a satellite orbiting the earth with illuminated cities at night

    Galileo, the EU's global navigation satellite system, has been down for four days, since July 11, following a mysterious outage. All Galileo satellites are still non-operational, at the time of writing.

    According to a service status page, 24 of the 26 Galileo satellites are listed as "not usable," while the other two are listing a status of "testing," which also means they're not ready for real-world usage.

    The European GNSS Agency (GSA), the organization in charge of Galileo, has not published any information in regards to the root of the outage, which began four days ago, on Thursday, July 11.

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    On that day, the GSA published an advisory on its website alerting companies and government agencies employing the Galileo system that satellite signals have degraded and they "may not be available nor meet the minimum performance levels."

    The agency warned that the Galileo system "should be employed at users' own risk."

    The GSA published a more dire warning on Saturday, July 13, when it said that Galileo was experiencing a full-service outage and that "signals are not to be used."

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    At the time of writing, the service is nearing 100 hours of downtime.

    The system going down forced the Galileo's userbase (government agencies and private companies) to switch to alternatives.

    The Galileo satellite system was launched in 2016 and was funded by the EU as an alternative to the US Air Force's Global Position System (GPS) and the Russian government's GLONASS.

    Workmen prepare the Galilieo (GIOVE-B) satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA) on its launch pad at Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome on April 23, 2008. The Galileo satellite navigation project will be launched from Kazakhstan on April 27.        AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images) © 2008 AFP Workmen prepare the Galilieo (GIOVE-B) satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA) on its launch pad at Kazakhstan's Baikonur cosmodrome on April 23, 2008. The Galileo satellite navigation project will be launched from Kazakhstan on April 27. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

    It is provided under both free and commercial offerings and is widely used by governments agencies and private companies for navigation and search and rescue operations.

    Because it's provided for free, it is also widely used by the private tech sector and by most of the world's academia.

    The downtime also comes after widespread GPS outages were reported across Israel, Iran, Iraq, and Syria at the end of June. Israeli media blamed the downtime on Russian interference, rather than a technical problem.

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