is the global navigation satellite system
(GNSS) that went live in 2016, created by the European Union
(EU) through the European GNSS Agency
(GSA), headquartered in Prague
in the Czech Republic
, with two ground operations centres, Oberpfaffenhofen
in Germany and Fucino
in Italy. The €10 billion project is named after the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei
. One of the aims of Galileo is to provide an independent high-precision positioning system so European nations do not have to rely on the U.S. GPS
, or the Russian GLONASS
systems, which could be disabled or degraded by their operators at any time.
The use of basic (lower-precision) Galileo services will be free and open to everyone. The higher-precision capabilities will be available for paying commercial users. Galileo is intended to provide horizontal and vertical position measurements within 1-metre precision, and better positioning services at higher latitudes
than other positioning systems.
Galileo is also to provide a new global search and rescue
(SAR) function as part of the MEOSAR system
The first Galileo test satellite
, the GIOVE-A
, was launched 28 December 2005, while the first satellite
to be part of the operational system was launched on 21 October 2011. As of July 2018, 26 of the planned 30 active satellites are in orbit. Galileo started offering Early Operational Capability (EOC) on 15 December 2016, providing initial services with a weak signal, and is expected to reach Full Operational Capability (FOC) in 2019. The complete 30-satellite Galileo system (24 operational and 6 active spares) is expected by 2020. It is expected that the next generation of satellites will begin to become operational by 2025 to replace older equipment. Older systems can then be used for backup capabilities. Read more...