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ESA has identified problem causing Galileo clocks to fail

Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 7 Jul 2017

Earlier this year it was reported that atomic clocks, the backbone of navigation signals on the Galileo satellites, were failing at an alarming rate. Of the 18 satellites in operation, nine clocks had failed.

Each Galileo satellite has four clocks, two are traditional rubidium and two are more precise hydrogen maser instruments intended to give Galileo superior performance. Of the nine failures, three were rubidium and six hydrogen maser, one satellite having suffered a failure of two clocks. Although a satellite only needs one working clock to be operational the failures were deeply concerning and the cause needed to be found.

The European Commission said on Monday that investigators had now identified the cause, a faulty component could cause a short circuit, and deployed measures to reduce the possibility of further malfunctions. The component will be replaced on satellites currently in production.

Source: www.esa.int

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