UK invests in Galileo programme

The UK government announced recently that it will subscribe a further €31m to the European Space Agency’s development of the Galileo programme, Europe’s future civil satellite navigation system.

Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alistair Darling said: ‘This investment is good news for British jobs, British technology and science.

‘The Galileo project has real potential to develop groundbreaking technology leading to more accurate in-car navigation and new systems for the emergency services to locate missing or injured people.

‘British expertise is helping to build it, we want British companies and jobs to benefit from it. That is why we are backing it.’

A Public Private Partnership (PPP), currently under negotiation, will take over responsibility for building and operating the Galileo system.

UK industry has already secured key roles in Galileo: Astrium UK and LogicaCMG are major partners in Galileo Industries, the consortium of European companies that will build the first four test satellites. In addition, Inmarsat, a member of the merged consortium that is bidding to run the Galileo PPP will manage the Galileo Operations Company (OpCo) for the consortium in London.

Surrey Satellites Technology has already led a consortium that built and launched GIOVE-A, a demonstrator satellite to test the robustness of the technology being used under this programme. Other companies who will benefit from the development of Galileo include BT, Thales ATM, COMDEV UK and the Vega Group.

The government is supporting a bid backed by the Welsh Assembly Government for Cardiff to host the Galileo Supervisory Authority, which will own and regulate the PPP for the European Community.