The European navigation system Galileo has to contend with a major malfunction. The satellite network has been largely shut down since Friday due to a 'technical incident involving ground infrastructure', as the EU agency GSA itself reports.

It is not known exactly what is going on. GSA reports that it is a “technical incident” on the ground. On Thursday the regulator already reported that the network was not functioning properly. The only part that still works is the Galileo Search and Rescue Service SAR, which can locate people in need.

Smartphones and other devices have not been able to use the positioning system since Friday. According to the BBC, it automatically switches to GPS. Or, depending on the installed chip, on the Russian or Chinese satellite network.

Galileo's rescue service would still function. This allows people in need to be located using the satellite network.

Galileo is the largest space project in European history. The European Commission wants to build an alternative to the widely used GPS, which belongs to the United States military. The Galileo satellites can accurately determine where a connected box is up to 20 centimeters. The network is still under construction.

The system currently uses 26 satellites in orbit. That should total 30 by 2020. It is a collaboration between the EU and the European space agency ESA.

european global navigation satellite systems agency
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