Galileo Update


May 2017 | No Comment

EU working to ‘push’ Britain out of the space race by cancelling Galileo contracts

The European Commission is working to “push” British companies out of contracts for the latest phase of work on the EU’s Galileo satellite navigation system, according to reports.

The body is understood to be calling for the right to cancel existing contracts if a supplier is no longer based in an European Union member state.

The total cost of the latest project is €10 billion (£8.5 billion) and managed by the European Space Agency.

The Financial Times reports that the Commission is demanding that any company kicked out of the programme should be asked to finance the cost of finding a replacement supplier. An UK government official said: “It feels like the UK is being targeted.

“We have been fighting to stay involved in Galileo whereas some European partners are working to push us out.” The majority of Galileo’s existing satellites have been provided by the UK’s Surrey Satellite Technology, majority owned by France-based Airbus. British companies with interests in the project include Qinetiq, CGI, Airbus and Scisys.

Galileo search-and-rescue service officially launched

The Galileo Search And Rescue (SAR) service, made possible by the Galileo satellite constellation, is now active.

Galileo SAR is Europe’s contribution to the COSPAS-SARSAT network, a distress alert detection and information distribution system best known for detecting and locating emergency beacons activated by aircraft, ships and hikers.

By providing COSPAS-SARSAT with the coverage capacity of the Galileo constellation equipped with SAR transponders, Europe is helping to reduce the detection delay of a distress signal from up to several hours to 10 minutes.

A return link, a signal informing the person in distress that the signal has been received and localized, will be added to the system by the end of 2018.

With Galileo, the time to identify the location of a beacon signal is reduced from several hours to a few minutes. At sea, this makes SAR rescue operations easier thanks to a narrowed “search box,” since the vessel in distress has less time to drift.

On land, the quick acquisition of a precise position enables rescue teams to more quickly reach the operation zone and assist the victims.

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