Galileo Update, News Archives


Apr 2009 | Comments Off on NEWSBRIEFS – UPDATE


Galileo and China’s Compass argue over frequencies

The Christian Science Monitor reports that China’s insistence on using the same radio frequency as Galileo may render some features of the European system unusable in the event of a crisis. China’s membership of “Galileo,” has soured to the point where the two sides are locked in a dispute over radio frequencies, as China races ahead with its own network of satellites. Without an agreement, China would be able to frustrate European military forces’ efforts to deny a future enemy crucial satnav capability. http://survapedia. com/2009/03/galileo-china-argue/

European court of auditors lambastes Galileo Satellite Navigation Program

Preliminary observations on “The management of the Galileo programme’s development and validation phase,” adopted by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) is a kind of post-mortem filled with ruefulness and might-have-beens. The Galileo program is five years behind schedule and facing a current overrun of €2.25 billion (US$3.06 billion) above the 2000 cost projection of €3.33 billion for the definition, development and validation, and deployment phases. The ECA is given powers under various European Union (EU) treaties to carry out independent audits of programs and their use of EU finances. Based on audit work was performed during 2007 and 2008, the preliminary observations will become a final published report to be made public within the coming months. Although the audit covers the program from its origins in the early 1990s up to the end of 2008, it focuses on the EU’s satellite navigation programs — Galileo and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) — during the years 2003 to 2006.

And, through the eyes of the auditors, it’s not a pretty sight. Section headings in the table of contents foreshadow the ultimately dreary conclusions: “Concession negotiations failed,” “Technological development activities delayed and over budget,” “Limited usefulness of RTD [research and technological development] activities,” “EGNOS integration only partially successful,” “Poor public-sector governance.”

Particular attention (and opprobrium) is reserved for the effort to form a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) that sought to derive twothirds of the cost of deploying the system from a private concessionaire that would operate the system at a profit. The PPP effort fell apart in mid-2006, when the program sponsors — the European Commission (EC) on behalf of the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA) — decided to transform the program into a more traditional public procurement.

The auditors point out that, despite recommendations in two studies prepared by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the EC did not investigate traditional public procurement. Moreover, neither the EC nor the GJU constructed a public sector comparator, that is, an estimate for comparative purposes of what the project would cost if traditional procurement methods were used. Instead, the ECA concludes (as was widely assumed at the time), “The Commission proposed, and the [EU] Council adopted, a PPP for the deployment and operational phases of Galileo in order to obtain a political consensus.”

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