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Galileo (GPS) Explained

Updated at 18 Nov, 2021

— The Galileo navigation system is owned and operated by the EU and currently owns more than €170bn share on the GNSS market.

Galileo (GPS) Explained

What is Galileo GPS and How Does It Stand Against the U.S. GPS?

The European GNSS, known as Galileo GPS, is the European Union's pride. Operating as a formidable global navigation satellite system (GNSS), it is Europe's answer to the United States' GPS. But how do they match up?

Galileo: Europe's Foray into Satellite Navigation

Crafted by the European Space Agency, the Galileo GPS navigation system was initiated on May 26, 2003, under the watchful eye of the European Commission. Anchored by its robust Galileo satellite constellation, and contrary to satellite systems like the US GPS, Galileo champions civilian use. Nevertheless, its operational capability allows it to transition for military usage during high-alert situations.

Galileo’s Satellite Powerhouse

Galileo satellites form the backbone of this GNSS. The system flaunts over 24 satellites, positioned meticulously in three orbital planes, 23,222 km away from the Earth. These satellites ensure that the Galileo signal retains its strength, thereby providing superior positioning accuracy over its counterparts.

Galileo vs. Other Satellite Navigation Systems: A Question of Precision

Galileo's paramount strength lies in its accuracy. When gauged against other satellite navigation systems, Galileo reigns supreme. It pledges an accuracy of 1 metre for professionals and 5 metres for the general user base. When pitted against the American GPS, Galileo shines brighter, boasting an under-one-metre accuracy via its broadcast ephemeris. The traditional GPS lags slightly, offering a three-metre range.

Diving Deeper: Galileo’s Multifaceted Services

  1. Open Service: Open to all, it offers one-metre positioning with compatible equipment.

  2. High Accuracy Service: Formerly named the Commercial Service, this promises a centimetre-level accuracy without charges.

  3. Public Regulated Service: Designed for resilience, this service embeds anti-jamming measures and steadfast problem detection mechanisms.

  4. Search and Rescue: Powered by Galileo's data, it zeroes in on beacons, enabling swift rescues.

Galileo's Trajectory in the European GNSS Landscape

With its roots embedded deep in the lucrative EUR 175 billion GNSS market, Galileo's stake is formidable. It aligns with the GNSS gamut, featuring stalwarts like GPS, GLONASS, NavIC, QZSS, and BeiDou. Although it's a budding player, Galileo promises unparalleled benefits to a vast spectrum of users, from emergency teams to civilians. Italy and Germany are pivotal contributors, with the Galileo Control Centres headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic.

Galileo & The Vast Expanse of Space: Navigation Perfected

Space is indispensable to GNSS. Galileo harnesses space to curate impeccable timing, navigation, and positioning solutions. The satellite signals, relayed to GNSS receivers, are decoded to derive precise longitude, latitude, and time metrics. Symbolizing European excellence in satellite navigation, it reinforces Europe's commitment to innovation.

In Retrospect: Galileo GPS vs. Traditional GPS

The "Galileo vs. GPS" debate is intense. However, Galileo's unwavering focus on accuracy, tailored services, and civilian commitment grants it an edge. Representing Europe's tech strides, the Galileo GNSS is setting new benchmarks in satellite navigation, etching Europe's indomitable mark on the global GNSS canvas.

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