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Authorities Gauge Impact of Europe's Galileo Navigation Satellite System
by Staff Writers
Brussels, Belgium (SPX) Nov 29, 2011

Galileo was not just created to give Europe independence in navigation but also to assure that Europe could have a share of the large and growing GNSS market. That market is foreseen to grow to 240 billion Euros by 2021.

Experts have taken a look at the status of Europe's Galileo global navigation satellite system, emphasizing the prospect for international cooperation, tapping into the satellite navigation business sector, and identifying key benefits for European citizens.

Secure World Foundation (SWF) brought together leading authorities to participate in a debate on Galileo - its current status and future opportunities.

The event was part of SWF's Brussels Space Policy Round Table - a series of panel discussions that focus on significant global space events with a particular emphasis on Europe.

Galileo is a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) currently being built by the European Union (EU) and European Space Agency (ESA). Two operational Galileo satellites were launched in October of this year, a center-piece for discussion at the SWF-sponsored round table.

Those taking part in the SWF event included:

+ Michel Bosco, Deputy Head of Unit, EU Satellite Navigation Programs: Applications, Security, International Aspects, European Commission

+ Marina Martinez, Framework Program Officer for the Thematic areas of Transport and Aeronautics, Space, Security and SMEs, Spanish Office of Science and Technology

+ Daniel Ludwig, Independent Consultant, DLC

+ Gard Ueland, President, Galileo Services

Agnieszka Lukaszczyk, European Program Manager, Secure World Foundation, served as event moderator.

Key observations
Highlights among the panel of Galileo authorities, included:

+ Michel Bosco noted that the first two Galileo satellites launched in October are viewed as a major step towards making the system operational, with a next satellite launch foreseen in the summer of 2012. He underscored the fact that there will be seven billion Euros allocated to Galileo in the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

Galileo is solely funded with EU public money and this is the first time EU owns space assets, he explained. International cooperation is crucial for the development of GNSS, he stressed, particularly when it comes to interoperability, compatibility, network of world-wide ground stations.

+ Galileo was not just created to give Europe independence in navigation but also to assure that Europe could have a share of the large and growing GNSS market, advised Gard Ueland. That market is foreseen to grow to 240 billion Euros by 2021.

However, European GNSS research is in trouble as there is very little support on the national level. Unfortunately GNSS is not high on the European list of priorities, Ueland cautioned.

+ Marina Martinez stressed that it is important to structure Galileo in such a way that it will directly benefit European citizens. Galileo is not only a program but also a commodity, she said, with Galileo creating jobs and business for companies of a various size as well as spin offs to other sectors and areas.

A concern, however, is the slow progress in making Galileo operational. That negatively impacts competitiveness of the system and doesn't create trust among private sector.

+ Daniel Ludwig spotlighted the economic benefits of Galileo, uses that are still not fully understood and therefore underestimated. Galileo has a potential to be a prototype for the future European space policy, he observed. Governance of the system should be revisited.

Strong leadership/management is essential to make such a big program successful. There are many actors involved, a situation that makes coordination and efficiency difficult and thus has spurred calls for better governance.

Read the report in detail here

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