DEC 30, 2016 10:46 AM PST

Europe Turns on Galileo Location Service Satellites to Compete with GPS

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

GPS (Global Positioning System) is a tool that many of us use every day to coordinate our location almost anywhere on the planet. It utilizes satellite signals to determine our precise location, and then that information gets relayed through cell towers to mobile devices like our phones, tablets, and sometimes the dashboards of our cars.

On the other hand, GPS is old, and new location service technology has been in development for ages. Among those is Europe’s Galileo system, which as of this month is now fully functional.

Europe's Galileo system is expected to 1-up GPS in location accuracy and speed.

Image Credit: OHB/ESA

Over the past five years, the European Space Agency has helped coordinate the launch of 18 Galileo satellites that would assist the system in covering all grounds of the planet. More are planned to help strengthen the capabilities of Galileo in the future, but for now it’s just starting up.

Four of those satellites were launched just last month, and were added to the satellite array that is currently orbiting the planet. While they’ve been switched on and are ready to do some work, 6 more satellites are planned before 2020, which will complete the Galileo satellite array.

At this point in time, limited location services for smartphone and other gadgets will be accessible by device manufacturers that support Galileo, and it will be available world-wide, assuming the rest of the world wants to adopt the new infrastructure too.

Nevertheless, Galileo is still primitive at best because it’s not complete yet. It will be piggybacking off of the GPS network until it’s complete, helping to provide its users with accurate data information.

It’s doubtful that all device manufacturers will adopt full support for Galileo until a future date, as new technology launches also call for new standards and updated electronic components and software.

Each Galileo satellite orbits the Earth approximately 14,000 miles above our heads at different points, and are geostationary, meaning they keep their location in space above the Earth as the planet rotates.

It’s said that the technology built into these satellites will be the most accurate and most precise of any Earth location service to date, so it should be interesting to see what becomes of Galileo in the future and whether or not everyone with any device will be able to utilize it.

Source: European Space Agency, BBC

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAY 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Discover Earth's Nearest Black Hole Yet
MAY 10, 2020
Astronomers Discover Earth's Nearest Black Hole Yet
Black holes are a niche part of astronomy that have captivated some of the greatest astronomers and physicists for decad ...
MAY 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Measurements Suggest Spin-Orbit Alignment for TRAPPIST-1's Exoplanets
MAY 17, 2020
Measurements Suggest Spin-Orbit Alignment for TRAPPIST-1's Exoplanets
Of all the exoplanetary systems that astronomers have discovered to date, perhaps one of the most intriguing of those is ...
MAY 30, 2020
Space & Astronomy
SpaceX Crewed Demo-2 Mission Lifts Astronauts Into Space From U.S. Soil
MAY 30, 2020
SpaceX Crewed Demo-2 Mission Lifts Astronauts Into Space From U.S. Soil
Following a cancelled rocket launch opportunity this past Wednesday due to unfavorable weather conditions, SpaceX and NA ...
MAY 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
SpaceX Demo-2 Mission Docks Safely with International Space Station
MAY 31, 2020
SpaceX Demo-2 Mission Docks Safely with International Space Station
SpaceX and NASA gave the green light for the precedent-setting Demo-2 mission Saturday afternoon, officially bringing cr ...
JUN 08, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Space Agencies Are Developing Novel Space Junk Cleanup Tools
JUN 08, 2020
Space Agencies Are Developing Novel Space Junk Cleanup Tools
There are thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth today, with some residing in Low-Earth Orbit and others following a ...
JUN 30, 2020
Space & Astronomy
How it Rain Diamonds on Neptune
JUN 30, 2020
How it Rain Diamonds on Neptune
For some time, scientists have hypothesized that it may be raining diamonds deep inside Neptune and Uranus. They have no ...
Loading Comments...