UK rebuffed over Galileo sat-nav procurement

SatellitesImage copyright
OHB

Image caption

Artist’s impression: There are now 22 Galileo satellites in orbit

The UK space industry, fighting to be partial of a European satellite-navigation system, Galileo, has suffered another Brexit setback.

Delegations to a European Space Agency have authorized a buying of a subsequent collection of spacecraft, notwithstanding British calls to delay.

The preference means UK companies will find it tough to win any contracts.

As it stands, no understanding has been concluded between London and a EU-27 to concede Britain continued participation.

Even if this is eventually negotiated, any preference will substantially come too late for UK firms to make a kind of bids for satellite work they have in a past.

  • UK ups a ante on Galileo project
  • Can a UK go it alone on a sat-nav scheme?
  • Brexit to ‘force sat-nav work out of UK’
  • UK considers opposition to EU Galileo satellite

Science apportion Sam Gyimah pronounced a opinion during an Esa Council assembly to ensue with buying put during risk Britain’s destiny confidence attribute with a EU.

“The elementary fact is that though full, satisfactory and open industrial involvement, Galileo doesn’t offer a UK value for income or accommodate a counterclaim needs, so we would be thankful to travel away, ensuing in delays and additional costs to a programme that will run into a billions,” he said.

“There is an choice on a list that would advantage both a UK and EU. If that is not supposed by a EU, we are a unapproachable and assured republic and will be looking during all alternatives.” Ministers have formerly talked about a UK building a possess sat-nav system, that could cost £3-5bn.

The European Commission says Brexit means a UK will have to be released from a pivotal component of Galileo after Mar subsequent year.

This is a Public Regulated Service, or PRS – a navigation and timing vigilance dictated for use by supervision agencies, armed army and puncture services.

The PRS is designed to be accessible and strong even in times of crisis.

Brussels says London can't immediately have entrance to it when a UK leaves a European confederation since it will turn a unfamiliar entity. PRS is for EU member states only. The UK believes to stay partial of Galileo, it contingency have full entrance to PRS.

Mr Gyimah wrote to a EC’s commissioner for space, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, requesting Esa check a deliberations to give negotiations a possibility to succeed. “To press forward with a Batch 4 opinion now could prejudge a outcome of serve negotiations that is something we am certain we wish to avoid,” he pronounced in his letter.

The European Commission uses a European Space Agency as a technical and pattern representative on Galileo.

So far, Esa has put 22 satellites in circuit for a network and has consecrated others to take a sum series above 24 – deliberate a full complement – and spares.

Batch 4, valued during some €400m, would expected acquire 12 additional satellites to act as a rolling replacements for progressing models in circuit that strech a finish of their operational lives.

To date, British engineers have fabricated a payloads – a “brains” – of each singular Galileo satellite.

Europe’s Galileo complement

Image copyright
ESA

Image caption

Artwork: Galileo satellites go into circuit dual or 4 during a time

  • A plan of a European Commission and a European Space Agency
  • 24 satellites consecrate a full complement though it will also have 6 spares in circuit
  • 22 booster are in circuit today; a 30 figure is expected to be reached in 2021
  • Original bill was €3bn though will now cost some-more than 3 times that
  • Spacecraft have been launched in batches of two, though now go adult 4 during a time
  • Will work alongside a US-owned GPS and Russian Glonass systems
  • Promises contingent real-time positioning down to a metre or less

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