EU Agrees to Fully Fund Galileo

European Union governments agreed Friday to jointly complete the development of the much-delayed Galileo satellite navigation project after mollifying Spain, which had demanded a bigger stake in the venture. Spain was the lone holdout in a 26-1 vote at an EU meeting on moving ahead with the $5 billion undertaking. In seeking unanimity, the EU later won Spain's approval with a deal that said a secondary ground station - planned for Spain to monitor emergency services on Galileo channels - may one day be a full-blown ground control station if Spain pays for that upgrade.

The European Commission set a Dec. 31 deadline for final approval of the satellite program. When completed, by 2013, it is expected to rival the American global positioning system, which also is satellite-based. On Nov. 23, EU governments agreed to a taxpayer bailout for the project, several months after a consortium of private companies walked away from it in a financing dispute. Most of the $3.5 billion needed to complete Galileo will come from unused EU farm funds. In an 11th-hour move Friday, Spain demanded a ground control station as part of the network of 30 satellites that will beam navigation signals to earth. The Galileo program had only foreseen two: one near Munich and another near Rome.

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So, to develop worldwide Galileo project, build 2 space control centers and launch 30 satellites into space will cost $5.2bn. To host short term London Olympic Games 2012 will cost $18.6bn ($1240 per UK family, it looks like we will have golden toilets at Olympics :). I have one explanation: Corporations missed opportunity to jump into tax money stealing wagon driven by government. I expect to see Galileo costs rise exponentially as soon as companies will realize plundering opportunity through overpriced contracts with government.

It will be interesting to see if the European GPS project succeeds. Developing the satellites and associated ground systems will be hideously expensive. In the meantime, the U.S. GPS system provides a vast array of civilian services (courtesy of the taxpayers, of course) to the whole world, for free.

In no particular order:

Personal navigation systems, handheld, automobile, aircraft and ships.

Your cellphone. Yes, cellphone systems rely on extremely accurate time and frequency references, most of which rely on the GPS satellites as the ultimate reference or "truth". Google "gps time and frequency" for more info.

Reliable electricity. The power delivery organizations use accurate time and frequency references for control of their complex power grids, and these references rely on GPS for their accuracy.

Network time. Most NTP servers have a (you guessed it) GPS receiver built-in to get accurate time.

Satellite communications. These systems also need precise time and frequency references, again based on GPS.

Most or all of the above items could get by without GPS, but at the cost of having extremely expensive alternative time and frequency references. Costs which would inevitably be passed on to the end-users. GPS makes it possible at a very low cost, comparatively speaking. GPS has improved the quality of our lives (if one considers cell phones an "improvement" :suspicious: ) in many, many ways.

I wish the Europeans all the best in their endeavour.

The new system will be as free as GPS is, I believe some of the "life critical" services will be encrypted (i.e. not free). But otherwise it will be better than GPS, as you would expect being so much newer.

I guess it will be available to the whole world, right. Damn it's still 6 years away though. Good to see people money being used in something constructive.

I was wondering what had happened to galileo since the news broke like 5 years ago.
As someone has already mentioned, galileo is supposed to be a "civilian" positioning system rather an a military one. Although GPS is used for civilian purposes too, it's still run by the military.
It's also supposed to provide more precision

So it's all good, albeit expensive as ****!

I don't really understand this project... whats different about it then GPS? Why don't we just use GPS? It's a global standard right now for tracking and positioning

M2Ys4U said,
GPS is run by the US military. That's bad. If they want to shut it off one day, they can at the flick of a switch.

Yes I know the original GPS system was put up by the US Military, but there has since been other GPS compliant systems put into space not ran by them... what I am asking is, is this following the GPS standard or are they making a brand new one that nothing is compatable with

GPS is not accurate down to the centimeter scale, it is not reliable enough for life-critical missions, and is not freely accessible by all.

neufuse said,

Yes I know the original GPS system was put up by the US Military, but there has since been other GPS compliant systems put into space not ran by them... what I am asking is, is this following the GPS standard or are they making a brand new one that nothing is compatable with

It will be compatable with GPS to inprove accuracy

Is it me, or does that piture look like that Satellite is shooting some kind of weapon?

Nukes in space I tell's ya!

Quit moaning. Microsoft broke the law they were convicted they appealed and lost end of story.

Otherwise I should start moaning about the US justice department investigating BAE systems.

zaber said,
Quit moaning. Microsoft broke the law they were convicted they appealed and lost end of story.

Otherwise I should start moaning about the US justice department investigating BAE systems.

That would make sense if they had any idea that there were companies that weren't American ... <snipped>