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Punctuality is king's politeness : Galileo UTC time dissemination successfully tested.

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Punctuality is king's politeness : Galileo UTC time dissemination successfully tested !

The Galileo European Navigation Satellite Service takes another step towards its promising future : UTC time dissemination test successfully passed.

On April 17th, a successful time dissemination and uplink has been conducted by the Galileo test and measurement infrastructure.

By "time dissemination", one means the broadcast of a stable reference time which can be used by applications.

The capability to precisely synchronize devices which can be situated at very different locations in the world is a fundamental feature to critical infrastructure such as Telecommunication networks or power grids.

In addition to the location solution, UTC Time dissemination is a worldwide Service which will be provided for free by the Galileo constellation.

The test has confirmed that Galileo will offer a truly remarkable time precision.

It comprised the computation of :

  • the difference (offset) between the Galileo System Time (GST) and the UTC;
  • the "uplink" of that GST-UTC difference to the IOV satellites;
  • the dissemination through the Navigation Message;
  • the reception by the test receivers on ground.

The offset achieved was 15 nanoseconds, well within the system requirements.


- UTC is the Abbreviation of the Universal Time Coordinated and is the international reference for time, which is generated by combining the capabilities of many Time Laboratories around the globe.

- GST is the Galileo System Time, the reference time used by the Galileo system to compute its internal timing references.

- 1 nanosecond is 1x10−9 or 1/1,000,000,000  of a second);

- the "uplink" is the broadcast of information from the ground stations to the satellites;

- Galileo is the name of the European Satellite Navigation programme.

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