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2 Galileo Satellites Launched To Wrong Orbit

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the conspiracy-theory dept.

Space 140

As reported by the BBC, two satellites meant to form part of the EU's Galileo global positioning network have been launched into a wrong, lower orbit, and it is unclear whether they can be salvaged. NASASpaceFlight.com has a more detailed account of the launch, which says [D]espite the Arianespace webcast noting no issue with the launch, it was later admitted the satellites were lofted into the wrong orbit. “Following the announcement made by Arianespace on the anomalies of the orbit injection of the Galileo satellites, the teams of industries and agencies involved in the early operations of the satellites are investigating the potential implications on the mission,” noted a short statement, many hours after the event. It is unlikely the satellites can be eased into their correct orbit, even with a large extension to their transit time. However, ESA are not classing the satellites as lost at this time. “Both satellites have been acquired and are safely controlled and operated from ESOC, ESA’s Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany,” the Agency added. Over the course of the next "year or so," an additional 24 satellites are slated to complete the Galileo constellation, to be launched by a mixed slate of Ariane and Soyuz rockets.

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Proves point (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47735997)

If you want space done right go American.

Re:Proves point (2)

marsu_k (701360) | about 2 months ago | (#47736021)

I know, right? [slashdot.org]

Re:Proves point (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | about 2 months ago | (#47736171)

That was during a test. The European mission wasn't.

Dammit ESA, you had one job.

Re:Proves point (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 2 months ago | (#47736255)

The satellites were brought up by Russian Soyuz rockets.

I'm sure this mishap has nothing to do with EU sanctions against Russia and the crisis in the Ukraine.

Re:Proves point (4, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47736313)

Well, wouldn't the Russian rocket basically just get the satellite into LEO, while mission-special rockets would do final delivery to the proper orbit?

at least that's what my wife suggested when I asked her just now. And she actually is a rocket scientist...

Re:Proves point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736353)

Can she launch your rocket?

Re:Proves point (4, Funny)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47736375)

Would I have married her otherwise?

Re:Proves point (4, Informative)

nojayuk (567177) | about 2 months ago | (#47737571)

The final stage that was meant to put the two satellites into their proper orbit was a Fregat-MT upper stage built by the Russians and supplied as part of the complete Soyuz stack.

The satellites have their own motors used for station-keeping, trimming orbit etc. but I doubt they have enough fuel to move themselves to the planned orbit. Even in the wrong orbit the satellites will still work and provide position data to GPS receivers but they will not provide the sort of whole-sky coverage originally planned. They are high enough that they're not likely to deorbit within the next few years at least.

The complete Galileo constellation is intended to consist of twenty-four working satellites and six spares so ESA and the Galileo consortium have some leeway. They might revamp the deployment schedule to use fewer Soyuz launches and more Ariane V launches for the rest of the constellation though unless the Russians can explain what went wrong with the Fregat-TM and guarantee it won't happen again.

Re:Proves point (1)

SMOKEING (1176111) | about 2 months ago | (#47738779)

One who wants it cheap, has to pay twice, isn't it?

Re:Proves point (1)

Hrdina (781504) | about 2 months ago | (#47737687)

Galileo launches use a Fregat fourth stage [wikipedia.org] (also Russian) to move the satellite to its mission orbit.

Enter our contest (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736283)

assuming that these two birds were never intended for their advertised purpose, what is their actual purpose? Don't spend too much time on this one because the correct answer is pretty obvious.

Re:Enter our contest (5, Funny)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47736343)

Everyone said I was daft to build a duplicate global positioning system, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It fell from orbit and sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That fell from orbit and sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That exploded, fell from orbit, burned on re-entry, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up.

Re:Enter our contest (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47737145)

Oh man, and I'm without mod points today. Bravo, sir!

Re:Enter our contest (1)

Neowolf (3792007) | about 2 months ago | (#47737925)

The satellites will let you determine your position in relation to her enormous (gestures with hands) tracts of land.

Re:Proves point (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 months ago | (#47737391)

Actually, yes.

It's better for the vehicle to terminate the flight, than to just give it it's best shot.

Re:Proves point (2, Interesting)

flyneye (84093) | about 2 months ago | (#47736031)

One must ask onesself, "It was a wrong orbit for who?" Perhaps it was the right orbit for some other purpose. A purpose that you aren't supposed to know, or even consider....

Re:Proves point (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | about 2 months ago | (#47736323)

Probably going to intercept cell phone transmission from Columbian drug cartels.

Re:Proves point (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 months ago | (#47736719)

I dont know much about satellites, but I do think thats how they work.

Re:Proves point (2)

bjwest (14070) | about 2 months ago | (#47737041)

That's kinda how they work, depending on the design. It's the cell phones that don't work that way.

Re:Proves point (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | about 2 months ago | (#47737167)

Old reference is old, I guess. Tom Clancy did it. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Proves point (2)

bjwest (14070) | about 2 months ago | (#47737825)

Yeah, and Gene Roddenberry [wikipedia.org] wrote about faster than light space travel back in the 60's, but that didn't make it possible.

Cell phones can, under ideal conditions, transmit 30 to 40 miles [wikipedia.org] , while a low earth orbit [wikipedia.org] is 99 miles up, and it would have to be directly overhead to be 99 miles away..>/p?

Fictional stories are fiction for a reason.

Re:Proves point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736423)

Let me compensate for the paranoia and invoke Hanlon's razor on this one:
"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

Re:Proves point (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736495)

Sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice, especially where large institutions are involved.

Re:Proves point (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47736875)

So, like the Galactus of stupidity? Where it's a force of nature?

Re:Proves point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47737313)

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

It's funny, I've never seen that one used together with an adequate explanation on how stupidity would cause something.

Re:Proves point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47737413)

Let me compensate for the paranoia...
Well then.
Let me compeNSAte for the paranoia...

(captcha: spooky)

Re:Proves point (5, Informative)

JavaBear (9872) | about 2 months ago | (#47736095)

Says the Anonymous coward...

This is the 2012 report, and a summary of success rates. You'll find the first American rocket as #7...
http://www.spacelaunchreport.c... [spacelaunchreport.com]

In 2013 the Atlas moved up to #4, Still after the Russian and EU.
http://www.spacelaunchreport.c... [spacelaunchreport.com]

Re:Proves point (2, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 months ago | (#47737819)

Take a closer look at that table. The US vehicles in 7-8 place have one and only one failure. The low ranking is because they are relatively new and have participated in a small number of missions.

In the 2nd table, showing retired vehicles the US has 3 of the top 4 spots.

Re:Proves point (4, Funny)

Yoda222 (943886) | about 2 months ago | (#47738273)

Then If you want space done right go retired American vehicles

Re:Proves point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736223)

Been to the moon, anybody? Anybody? Who was 45 YEARS AGO! Amerncans. That's who. Space done RIGHT!

Re:Proves point (4, Funny)

just_a_monkey (1004343) | about 2 months ago | (#47736281)

Using alien technology. To film it in a Hollywood basement.

Re:Proves point (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736297)

If you want mass surveillance and industrial espionage done right you should most definitely go American [nsa.gov] .

Re:Proves point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736567)

More likely the fucking Americans in the first place sabotaged this launch.
They don't want a civilian non-US controlled GPS system, especially if designed and operated by "their allies".

Re:Proves point (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 2 months ago | (#47736773)

Yet we tolerated the russian version?

KSP (2)

yamum (893083) | about 2 months ago | (#47736001)

Just killing some kerbals

Re:KSP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736075)

Jebediah would have piloted better than this!

Re:KSP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736093)

Time to launch a rescue missing.

Let's see if we can rocket catapult a stone off it until it corrects orbit.

Not miles vs. kilometers this time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736011)

Guessing its more likely a MiB (2**20) vs. MB (10**6) type issue. Thanks, Western Digital and Hitachi marketers!

Good thing they didn't use SpaceX! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736083)

KABOOM!

Re:Good thing they didn't use SpaceX! (1)

JavaBear (9872) | about 2 months ago | (#47736113)

In all fairness, SpaceX is doing remarkably well for a start-up. Besides, their recent failure was an experimental test flight, not a launch.

Re:Good thing they didn't use SpaceX! (1)

dk20 (914954) | about 2 months ago | (#47736339)

Because every other space program doesn't have its share of failures as well?

Please remove my name from this project (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736133)

The people involved with this project are muckers, top to bottom. Despite the name someone chose for this, I personally had nothing to do with it. During my lifetime I worked diligently on the creation of two sciences, mechanics and astronomy, so I know something about the issues involved here.

BTW can anyone shoot me a pizza down here? I haven't eaten anything solid in almost 400 years.

- G. Galilei

Someone is getting fired. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736139)

Conspiracy theory notwithstanding, these things cost money as does their launch. That sort of mistake will mean that some folks are being fired.

Re:Someone is getting fired. (0)

JavaBear (9872) | about 2 months ago | (#47736159)

Why? They are testing a new launch system, mistakes happen and you learn from them.

Re:Someone is getting fired. (2)

JavaBear (9872) | about 2 months ago | (#47736167)

Never mind, wrong post.

Re:Someone is getting fired. (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47736881)

You shoulda left it, would have been modded +5 Funny by now if you hadn't corrected yourself.

All together now: JUMP! (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 months ago | (#47736153)

Just wait for the satellites to be overhead.

fuel reserves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736187)

I thought that all satellites launched now are required to have reserve fuel to reach graveyard orbit. Wouldn't that fuel also be able to position the satellites in their originally intended orbits?

Re: fuel reserves (1)

sandertje (1748324) | about 2 months ago | (#47736277)

Depends. If in the same orbital plane, but just too low, it might be doable. If put into a lower orbit _and_ different orbital plane, it's another venture alltogether. Plus, you'd probably loose the ability to deorbit. If they can still be useful in their current orbits, I'd leave them there.

Re:fuel reserves (3, Interesting)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 2 months ago | (#47736447)

That's only for stuff that goes up into the heavily populated geostationary belt. GPS orbits are about half-way down and much more sparse, so there's no need to have a graveyard orbit the way there is in GEO. Besides, a higher orbit analogous to the geostationary graveyard is still a usable orbit for GPS, so there's nothing to be gained by moving there at the end of life, and the orbits are too high for re-entry burns to be practical the way they are for certain LEO orbits.

Re:fuel reserves (1)

Yoda222 (943886) | about 2 months ago | (#47738299)

It depends of the exact orbit. But even if it's possible, you don't have any more fuel to reach graveyard orbit later. Better conclude that you can't use them and collect money from arianespace insurers.

GPS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736245)

Maybe they should have used GPS :>

"lofted"??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736247)

Surely they mean "lifted"?

Re:"lofted"??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736975)

Your community college education and a hatred of reading is showing.

Netbot the dudes using the ... (1)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 2 months ago | (#47736251)

... Low Orbit Ion Canon.

ugh (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47736269)

I'll never understand these idiotic mistakes made by space agencies.

Remember when the spirit rover mission almost failed because they never did a real test of the OS's file system?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]

After I heard about that, all I could think of was "Why would you spend billions of dollars on something, send it to mars, and never simulate the trip to see if the OS would have a problem?"

Re:ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47737069)

And remember when Honda had their "unintended acceleration" because they did not care to write some unit tests? How many billion was that?

Yeah, it's like that. Managers are too stupid to understand the criticality of software so their idea is "it worked once? ship it!". Code coverage analysis of unit tests? Unit tests? Who needs to waste resources on that!

Re:ugh (2)

Yoda222 (943886) | about 2 months ago | (#47738317)

How do you conclude that this is an idiotic mistake from the currently available informations?

Re:ugh (1)

mbone (558574) | about 2 months ago | (#47738551)

The Fregat has a reputation as being an incredibly reliable and accurate upper stage - I have heard of on-orbit accuracies on the order of 100 meters - and there were no initial reports of upper stage technical problems (such as a premature shutdown). That tells me that this is likely to be either a communications problem, or a simple screwup.

Stupid metric system (4, Funny)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 2 months ago | (#47736377)

if they had used Engrish units this never would have happened.

Re:Stupid metric system (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736411)

In fact 'imperial' system is stupid. It is even retarded.
12 inches to 1 foot, 3 feets to 1 yard, 1760 yards to 1 mile, ...
This is just moronic.
Compare to 1km = 1000m = 100000cm

Re:Stupid metric system (1)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 2 months ago | (#47736457)

And if you're doing any unit conversions in realtime software, you're the retard. You can have the fundamental unit of distance be the meter, the foot, the nautical mile, the astronomical unit, or the earth radius, but why would you ever need to do unit conversions in the code? It's just as easy to fuck up a decimal point in metric as it is to mix up a mile and a nautical mile.

Re:Stupid metric system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736499)

Whooooooosh!

Re:Stupid metric system (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about 2 months ago | (#47736509)

In fact 'imperial' system is stupid. It is even retarded.
12 inches to 1 foot, 3 feets to 1 yard, 1760 yards to 1 mile, ...
This is just moronic.
Compare to 1km = 1000m = 100000cm

My theory is that the illiterate medieval peasants who invented those systems had an intuitive knowledge that a duodecimal number system would make a lot more sense than decimal, and they ended up creating various half-assed implementations of it for their measurements. (The mile thing is different; it's a Roman decimal measurement of steps).

Unfortunately we did end up using decimal, and reinforced it with Arabic numerals, which makes those intuitions worse than useless in the modern world.

Re: Stupid metric system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736891)

Imperial system makes easy to divide by 2, by 3 while decimal not. Anyways decimal let's you count with all fingers of your hands, easy, pratical.

Re:Stupid metric system (1, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47736971)

My theory is that most pre-Metric units were designed because they're sizing/spacing was convenient to the type of measuring and the task at hand.

I work on a lot of machinery. To cover a span of 1" or 24mm, I need almost half-again as many mm-sized tools as I need SAE-sized tools at 1/16" increments, and I can't omit any metric sizes because there's no rule that I've found on where one can go from x1mm to x2mm or x3mm spacing between fasteners. With SAE tools, once above 1-3/8, typically one only needs to carry 1/8" increments, and above 2", 1/4" increments.

0 degrees Fahrenheit is really cold, about the coldest that one can stand by simply bundling up, without having to resort to special clothing. 100 degrees Fahrenheit is pretty hot, about the hottest that one can stand without having to take special precautions with hydration and attire. By contrast, -18 degrees Celsius and 37 degrees Celsius aren't terribly intuitive.

SI also lacks a good equivalent to the Foot. Decimeters are only about 4" long, and meters are over 3' long, so nothing in between.

SI reminds me of hyperinflated currencies, where the units don't align well with real-world uses. I like the idea of base-ten conversion given our current numbering system, but the scales are off.

Re:Stupid metric system (1)

Splab (574204) | about 2 months ago | (#47737083)

What a load of rubbish. Celsius are intuitive for those who grew up with them.

And regarding tools, sure when all your tools are made to imperial standards, it's quite a surprise when working with them are easier than trying to do convert them to metric...

Re:Stupid metric system (0)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47737119)

Hmmm. The reading comprehension is weak with this one...

I just said that I need half-again as many SI tools as SAE tools. Wouldn't that indicate that I carry and use SI tools, and work on SI machines?

Re:Stupid metric system (1, Funny)

sound+vision (884283) | about 2 months ago | (#47737457)

What a load of rubbish. Fahrenheit degrees are intuitive for those who grew up with them.

Re:Stupid metric system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47738823)

Yup, but they are harder to learn, convert, and generally work with.

Re:Stupid metric system (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 months ago | (#47738901)

That doesn't mean they're better.

Standardization and a logically defined system with strict rules does mean SI is better.

Re:Stupid metric system (1)

guevera (2796207) | about 2 months ago | (#47738739)

That's actually a really good point, and it's been a pain point for me for years without realizing the why of it.

But then you go and ruin it with this: To cover a span of 1" or 24mm.

1" = 25.4mm, IIRC.

Re:Stupid metric system (2)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 months ago | (#47738891)

Spare the moronic excuses.

You do not need tools at every mm value.

0 degrees Celsius is the freezing point of water, 100 the boiling point. How much more intuitive does it need to be?

Are you too stupid to use numbers from 0 to 100 with centimeters? Is "50 centimeters" too much for your head?

The scales aren't "off". There's nothing to be off! A scale is not better because it maps to a few arbitrary values nicely.

A scale is worse if you have different rules for different units. How many inches in a mile? I'd have to think about it or memorize it. How many centimeters in a kilometer? Shift the decimal seperator 5 orders of magnitude to the right.

Re:Stupid metric system (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 2 months ago | (#47739079)

"How many inches in a mile? I'd have to think about it or memorize it. "

How many radians in a complete revolution? You CAN'T memorize it, it's an irrational number with an infinite number of digits.

Re:Stupid metric system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47737485)

Maybe they knew their Greek. Like the number pi, and all those weird numbers like pi/6. Why on Earth would anyone want to compute such a freak number?

Re:Stupid metric system (1)

mbone (558574) | about 2 months ago | (#47738491)

Not quite - it's more that there were a number of different units for different purposes and different locations - inches and feet and rods and yards and chains and furlongs and fathoms, etc. (and these are just for length - there are acres and oxgangs and virgates etc. for area, and on and on). Over time, some of these dropped out and the others got rationalized, leading to a bunch of different ratios.

At least some of the duodecimal units (and I believe all of the base 360 units, such as degrees) are straight from the Babylonians.

Re:Stupid metric system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736525)

Now build me a wall 1/3 of a meter long.

I dare you.

Re:Stupid metric system (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47737525)

Trisecting a line segment. Dang old white bastards reading their freaky Greek.

http://jwilson.coe.uga.edu/EMT668/EMAT6680.2000/Lehman/emat6690/trisecttri%27s/triseg.html

Re:Stupid metric system (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736815)

Anyone who can't switch tools based on the job at hand probably shouldn't be doing the job. For worldwide comprehension and 'close enough' estimates the foot can be defined by looking down. Except for people with 2 left feet.
The only issue I have now with metric, (besides the french) is the facists that are too stupid to understanding the advantage of dividing things by 2,4,8,12 and 16 and insisting I dumb down to a system they are more comfortable with, but equally ignorant.
In short, people that complain about unit conversions outside of scope, are the real dopes.

Re:Stupid metric system (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47737109)

Except for people with 2 left feet.

wouldn't that be .6096 left-m?

Re:Stupid metric system (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 months ago | (#47737779)

Nah. It's due to the ongoing shrinking of the Euro vs other currencies. That 10 million euro in fuel just didn't go far enough.

still going strong (1)

eyjeryjertj (3755333) | about 2 months ago | (#47736395)

GPS still going strong.

today's 'scientists' = retarded atheists (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736405)

How are they still alive?

What a debacle (5, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | about 2 months ago | (#47736417)

This will for sure mess up the constellation, which is designed to minimize the times where some places on Earth do not have 4 satellites above the horizon, and also the places where this is going to happen (i.e., coverage gaps over the far South Pacific are likely to be more acceptable than over Northern Europe) . Since these satellites are too low, they will have shorter periods and will thus not be commensurable with the existing constellation, and will drift in and out of place.

You can be sure ESA engineers are busily looking at orbits this weekend, to see what can be salvaged from this debacle. Now, they may be really lucky, and have gotten an orbit where these two satellites can be used to fill a hole in the current constellation. I would bet in that case that both satellites would serve to fill the spots normally filled by one satellite; so at best only one, but if (as is more likely) they are unlucky, two satellites will have to be launched to fill the gaps.

In other words, while these satellites are not a loss, and will be used, new launches are likely to be necessary to make the constellation whole, which will cost as much as if they were lost.

Forgot to use Metric (1)

7bit (1031746) | about 2 months ago | (#47736535)

Maybe they forgot to use Metric? Oh wait, the satellites would have ended up in Martian orbit if they had done that.

Not to worry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47736633)

Maybe the SpaceX folks can test their quick turn around capability with a couple of satellite capture missions that push those puppies higher.

Is it too late? (1)

thogard (43403) | about 2 months ago | (#47736763)

Most major GPS chip sets now actively filter pulsar noise. The thing about pulsars is they are better clocks than what is being launched and they transmit on all frequencies. The ephemeris calculations are much harder but it has be used to 2 meter accuracy and it isn't even limited to working just around earth. I wonder why they spent so much money to duplicate two existing systems that weren't even state of the art when they started. Maybe it was because you can't license pulsar transmissions.

Re:Is it too late? (2)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47737141)

Maybe they just thought that Pulsar Navigation System, or PNS, would never be widely adopted due to the pronunciation of its acronym...

Re:Is it too late? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47737423)

So? Make a pulsar chipset that actively filters GPS noise. Permissionless innovation.

Re:Is it too late? (1)

mbone (558574) | about 2 months ago | (#47738679)

Most major GPS chip sets now actively filter pulsar noise.

Got a link for that? I know that most pulsar observers filter out GPS and other satnavs (GLONASS sidebands are especially annoying) but I have not heard of GPS receivers having pulsar ephemerides.

 

The thing about pulsars is they are better clocks than what is being launched and they transmit on all frequencies. The ephemeris calculations are much harder but it has be used to 2 meter accuracy and it isn't even limited to working just around earth. I wonder why they spent so much money to duplicate two existing systems that weren't even state of the art when they started. Maybe it was because you can't license pulsar transmissions.

Or maybe because observing pulsars requires a substantially bigger antenna than a hand-held smart-phone - 170 m^2 (and 500 Watts!) for a phased-array radio dipole and 0.1 m^2 for an X-ray Pulsar Nav system in Becker et al. [arxiv.org] (and the latter could only be used in space, outside the Earth's atmosphere).

Use the GPS (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 2 months ago | (#47737155)

This is what they get for not using a GPS. It's not rocket science!

Official BBC Comment on Why This Is Important (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47737235)

It's always interesting to see what rationalizations the rich and powerful have for spending taxpayers money. From the BBC article:

"Galileo will bring significant returns to European economies in the form of new businesses that can exploit precise timing and location data delivered from orbit."
          --- As if such new businesses couldn't come into being while using existing GPS satellites.

"It should deepen and extend high-value markets already initiated by GPS"
          --- This is, as all will immediately realize, pure marketing-speak BS and devoid of any content whatsoever.

Re:Official BBC Comment on Why This Is Important (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47738773)

The most powerful word in that sentence is 'should'

Make that 26 more satellites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47737319)

*nm*

Space upgrade of classic flying problem? (1)

leftover (210560) | about 2 months ago | (#47737509)

Is this the space version of Controlled Flight Into Terrain? All the other mishaps I can recall were equipment failures, barring the satellite collision.

Re:Space upgrade of classic flying problem? (1)

mbone (558574) | about 2 months ago | (#47738725)

I suspect it will be like the 1999 Mars Climate Orbiter - "what we've got here is a failure to communicate."
 

Interesting difference between GPS and Galileo (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 months ago | (#47737521)

Unlike existing GPS, Galileo has an interactive "search and rescue" function that can interact with the unit on the ground.

Given how infrequently this would be useful in the grand scheme of things - and the likely higher power requirements over passive GPS - the paranoid person in me wonders if the real reason this was included is because spy agencies requested it. With GPS being passive, taking advantage of it to locate a target requires a second piece of software be loaded onto the device.

Re:Interesting difference between GPS and Galileo (3, Informative)

ChumpusRex2003 (726306) | about 2 months ago | (#47737839)

The SAR component of galileo is a separate service to the positioning service. The intention is that it can operate as an EPIRB receiver. Conventional emergency beacons can be located by satellites, but the resolution is poor (tens of miles) and the time to fix is long (30-60 minutes). The beacon transmits a signal, and suitably equipped satellites detect the beacon, and relay it to ground stations, which then compute the location of the beacon by measuring the change in Doppler shift as the satellite flies by. The SAR component of galileo was designed with the intention that the overhead satellites would detect the time-of-arrival of the beacon signal and cross reference it with the satellites' atomic clocks, effectively performing a reverse GPS-fix. Such a system would be able to obtain a fix within minutes or seconds, and such a fix would likely have a resolution of 1-2 miles. The SAR component is not a mandatory service. You can use the passive location service without implementing SAR in a device. You would only use the SAR service, in an emergency locator beacon device. At the time the galileo SAR system was designed, feedback was a problem with locator beacons. The user had no idea if the signal had been received. Later revisions to the system mean that modern beacons and satellites now offer two big upgrades - the beacons can contain a passive GPS reciever, and can embed the location data in the beacon signal; and the satellite system can transmit feedback to a compatible receiver telling it that it's signal has been received and a position fix made. The Galileo SAR function is therefore rather redundant, but it's often helpful to have a 2nd independent and redundant safety system available, so I can see that it would still get used.

Remember: Space is hard (1)

Vandil X (636030) | about 2 months ago | (#47737887)

The miracle and wonder behind celebrating successful space missions is realizing that going to space is hard and a lot had to go well to get things to turn out right. Even with decades of satellite launches under humanity's belt, each launch is a challenge and a learning opportunity...

...some more costly than others.
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