Galileo launches initial services

Europe’s own satellite navigation constellation has gone live after five years of launches by the European Space Agency (ESA). The European Commission announced the initial services launch on December 15, as the first step towards full operational capability.

Initial services include the Open Service, Public Regulated Sservice, and Search and Rescue services. During this initial phase the first Galileo signals will be used in combination with other satellite navigation systems, like GPS.

With the declaration of initial services Galileo will start to deliver a wide range of new navigation services that will benefit public authorities, businesses, and ultimately citizens.

Improved navigation accuracy

The Galileo Open Service will offer a free mass-market service for positioning, navigation and timing that can be used by Galileo-enabled chipsets in smartphones or in car navigation systems. These smartphones have been on the market since autumn 2016, and they can now use the signals to provide more accurate positions. By 2018, Galileo will also be found in every new model of vehicle sold in Europe.

“Initial service declaration is a very important step to let industry start building new applications around Galileo, including transport applications and mass market applications.”
Gwenaël Bras
RHEA Group’s Galileo Product Assurance Engineer

Emergency operations support

Galileo’s Search and Rescue Service (SAR) will reduce detection time to only 10 minutes. Furthermore, this service will be later improved by notifying the sender of the emergency call that help is underway.

Better time syncronization for critical infrastructure

Galileo’s high precision clocks will help critical infrastructures such as financial transactions, energy distribution netowrks, and telecommunications, to work more efficiently. 

Secure services for public authorities

Galileo offers a robust and fully encrypted service for government users during national emergencies and crisis situations, such as terrorist attacks, to ensure continuity of services. Galileo will aslo support public authorities such as civil protection services, humanitarian aid services, custom officers, and police departments, thanks to the Public Regulated Service.

Full operational capacity

Currently there are 18 Galileo satellites in orbit, of a planned total of 24. Further launches will continue to build the satellite constellation, which will gradually improve the system performance and availability worldwide. The constellation is expected to be completed by 2020 when Galileo will reach full operational capacity. 

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