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Submission + - Galileo: Europe's version of GPS reaches key phase (bbc.co.uk) 1

another random user writes: The third and fourth spacecraft in Europe's satellite navigation system have gone into orbit. The pair were launched on a Russian Soyuz rocket from French Guiana.

It is an important milestone for the multi-billion-euro project to create a European version of the US Global Positioning System.

With four satellites now in orbit — the first and second spacecraft were launched in 2011 — it becomes possible to test Galileo end-to-end. That is because a minimum of four satellites are required in the sky for a smartphone or vehicle to use their signals to calculate a positional fix.

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Galileo: Europe's version of GPS reaches key phase

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  • Galileo is designed to be as compatible to GPS as it makes sense without including features that are extremely outdated into Galileo. GPS was designed in the 1970s, so 40 years later it would make sense to do things better.

    GPS today broadcasts only one operational (healthy) civilian signal: L1 C/A. The L1 C/A signal is a pretty basic signal for today's technology, but it was state of the art in 1970s.

    So Galileo doesn't broadcast L1 C/A at all, using L1C as its basic signal (same frequency band, quite differ

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel