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Oct 5, 2007

Galileo's Future Uncertain

The European Union is divided on how to pay for Galileo, Europe's global navigation satellite system the BBC reported:

At a meeting in Luxembourg, ministers from Britain, the Netherlands and Germany led opposition to a proposed rescue bid for the Galileo project.

They opposed a European Commission (EC) proposal to use 2.4bn euros from EU funds to get the system back on track.

Original plans called for Galileo to be operational by 2013. Thus far, orders for only four of the planned 30-satellites have placed with only one test satellite in orbit.

The program had counted on financial support from private industry. However, the consortium of aerospace and telecom companies that is to build much of Galileo's infrastructure is doubtful about how much revenue can actually be generated from the service, since the Global Positioning System already in place by the United States is available world-wide, for free. To fill the funding gap, the EC recommended using the 2.4bn euros in unused agricultural and administrative funds.

That proposal is opposed by several members including Germany which has suggested that the funding shortfall be made up by European Space Agency members.

See also: Galileo to be Grounded?
Europe's First GPS Satellite Launch A Success
World Prepares To Challenge U.S. Dominance In GPS