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  1. #1
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    Default U.S. Scientists Crack Codes of Europe’s Galileo Satellite

    July 12, 2006

    Members of Cornell University Global Positioning System (GPS) Laboratory have cracked the secret codes of Europe's first global navigation satellite casting doubt on European Union’s promises that the $4.24 billion (Ł2.3 billion) Galileo project will pay for itself through commercial fees. Cornel University’s GPS Lab said cracking the so-called pseudo random number (PRN) codes of Galileo would mean free access for consumers who use navigation devices.

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    Default Full story

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    LOS ANGELES, Calif., July 12, 2006/Satnews Daily/ ― Members of Cornell University Global Positioning System (GPS) Laboratory have cracked the secret codes of Europe's first global navigation satellite casting doubt on European Union’s promises that the $4.24 billion (Ł2.3 billion) Galileo project will pay for itself through commercial fees.



    Cornel University’s GPS Lab said cracking the so-called pseudo random number (PRN) codes of Galileo would mean free access for consumers who use navigation devices.



    The European Space Agency launched on December 28, 2005, Giove-A (Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element-A), a prototype for 30 satellites that by 2010 will compose Galileo. Giove-A began transmitting navigation signals on 12 January 2006.



    According to a report in the Cornel University website, Mark Psiaki, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Cornell and co-leader of Cornell's GPS Laboratory, requested for the Giove-A codes from its manufacturer, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd., in mid-January. When their request was politely rejected, they decided to set up their own antenna and attempted to track down Giove-A’s signals.



    Within one week Psiaki's team developed a basic algorithm to extract the codes and by mid-March they derived their first estimates of the code. In April, they published the code’s final versions on their web site. The codes and the methods used to extract them were also published in the June issue of GPS World.



    Unlike America’s GPS system, which is supported by American taxpayers, EU plans to charge high-tech firms “license fees” to access that same data, before they can make and sell compatible navigation devices to the public. The cracking of the Galileo codes could spell disaster to all these plans.



    But the European Commission has reportedly declared Cornell's success in cracking codes for the prototype was irrelevant, as final codes for the Galileo system would not only be different, but would be made available by the EU.


    But Prof Psiaki said “Any manufacturer can now figure out the open source access codes for themselves.”

 

 

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