While one key official has sought to blame a single individual for the system going dark, insiders warn that organizational chaos, excessive secrecy and some unusual self-regulation is as much to blame.
Combined with those problems, a battle between European organizations over the satellite system, and a delayed independent report into the July cock-up, means things aren’t looking good for Europe’s answer to America’s GPS system. A much needed shake-up may be on its way.
In mid-July, the agency in charge of the network of 26 satellites, the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (EGSA), warned of a “service degradation” but assured everyone that it would quickly be resolved.
It wasn’t resolved however, and six days later the system was not only still down but getting increasingly inaccurate, with satellites reporting that they were in completely different positions in orbit than they were supposed to be – a big problem for a system whose entire purpose is to provide state-of-the-art positional accuracy to within 20 centimeters.
Billions of organizations, individuals, phones, apps and so on from across the globe simply stopped listening to Galileo. It’s hard to imagine a bigger mess, aside from the satellites crashing down to Earth.
But despite the outage and widespread criticism over the failure of those behind Galileo to explain what was going on and why, there has been almost no information from the various space agencies and organizations involved in the project.
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