Galileo satellites experiencing multiple clock failures

The onboard atomic clocks that drive the satellite-navigation signals on Europe’s Galileo network have been failing at an alarming rate.

Across the 18 satellites now in orbit, nine clocks have stopped operating. Three are traditional rubidium devices; six are the more precise hydrogen maser instruments that were designed to give Galileo superior performance to the American GPS network.

Galileo was declared up and running in December. However, it is still short of the number of satellites considered to represent a fully functioning constellation, and a decision must now be made about whether to suspend the launch of further spacecraft while the issue is investigated.

Prof Jan Woerner, the director general of the European Space Agency (Esa), told a meeting with reporters: “Everybody is raising this question: should we postpone the next launch until we find the root cause, or should we launch? Source: BBC News

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One Response to Galileo satellites experiencing multiple clock failures

  1. alfy says:

    Oh dear, we all get this. I wake up and my bedside alarm clock says 2.30. Ridiculous, it must be near dawn by the lightness of the sky. My watch on the bedside table says 6.45. That’s more like it. I must be suffering multiple clock failure when I come downstairs and the mantelpiece clock says 7.45. Perhaps I forgot to set it one hour back when the clocks changed back to GMT from BST.
    Galileo, you have my sympathy.

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