LONDON The U.K. Government is to contribute a further €31 million to the European Space Agency's development of the Galileo programme, Europe's civil satellite navigation system.
“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,” said Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.
“Already many British companies are leading its development. We want our businesses to continue to lead when it is up and running – with new opportunities opening for our transport and communications industries.”
A Public Private Partnership (PPP), currently under negotiation, will take over responsibility for building and operating the Galileo system.
Astrium U.K. 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 Ltd 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 U.K. 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.
The current costs of the development programme are estimated by the EU and ESA to be €1.5 billion. The EU will provide €200 million while ESA has asked individual Member States to provide the other €200 million.