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‘Technical incident’ puts Europe’s GPS system fully offline for days

‘Technical incident’ puts Europe’s GPS system fully offline for days
A major technical error has caused Europe’s satellite navigation system to be fully offline since Friday, with most satellites powering the Galileo system broken, the EU’s space agency has said.

Europe’s Galileo system was built to replace the US’ GPS system but, since the outage, users are automatically being switched back to the US positioning system. The Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GNSS) said in a statement on Sunday that “a technical incident related to its ground infrastructure” had caused the problem. 

The incident led to the “temporary interruption” of the Galileo services since Friday, with the exception of the Search and Rescue (SAR) service, which locates people in distress situations at sea or on mountains, GNSS said.

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The agency said its experts are working to restore operations “as soon as possible” and that an ‘Anomaly Review Board’ has been set up to analyze the “exact root cause and to implement recovery actions.”

Galileo began providing its services in December 2016 as an alternative to the US system and was expected to be fully deployed by 2020. A status page on the agency’s website shows 22 satellites in the Galileo constellation listed as “not usable” due to “service outage.”

Galileo is owned by the EU and operated by the European Space Agency. A report in industry publication Inside GNSS on Saturday claimed that a Precise Timing Facility based in Italy was to blame for the outage.

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