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GALILEO is Europe’s initiative for a state-of-the-art global navigation satellite system (GNSS), providing a highly accurate, guaranteed global positioning service. Galileo will be not too different from GPS and GLONASS. An essential difference is that Galileo is under civilian control.

Galileo will provide autonomous navigation and positioning services, but it will be interoperable with the two other global satellite navigation systems. This means that a user will be able to take a position with the same receiver from any of the satellites in any combination.

Galileo will deliver real-time positioning with an accuracy down to the meter range. It will guarantee availability of the service under all, but the most extreme circumstances and will inform users within seconds of a failure of any satellite. This will make it appropriate for applications where safety is vital, such as running trains, guiding cars and landing aircraft. The combined use of Galileo and other GNSS systems can offer much improved performance for all kinds of users worldwide.

Galileo will provide three levels of services:

  1. Open Service:
    a free service available to all users with an accuracy in the meter range.
  2. Commercial Service:
    a paid service designed to support applications that require very reliable and precise positioning in the sub-meter range.
  3. Public Regulated Service:
    for Public applications devoted to European and/or National Security, such as police, civil protection, law enforcement, civil protection such as some emergency services, as well as other governmental activities. The PRS is robust in order to be resistant to interference, jamming and other accidental or malicious aggressions.

In addition there is a Safety-of-Life Service
that improves the open service performance.

As a further feature, Galileo will provide a global Search and Rescue service
(SAR), based on the operational Cospas-Sarsat system. To do so, each satellite will be equipped with a transponder, which is able to transfer the distress signals from the user transmitters to the Rescue Coordination Centre, which will then initiate the rescue operation. At the same time, the system will provide a signal to the user, informing him that his situation has been detected and that help is under way.

Galileo will be comprised of a constellation of 30 satellites. Galileo was expected to be in operation by the year 2008, but it has been postponed for several times due to financial problems. The first satellite of the Galileo system has already been launched on 27th December 2005.


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