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Germany Confident EU Will Take Over Galileo Project

One official has said that completely taking over Galileo would cost a just less than two billion euros (2.7 billion dollars) on top of the 1.5 billion euros the European Commission already allocated in the 2007-2013 budget period.
by Staff Writers
Brussels, Belgium (AFP) May 08, 2007
The European Union's German presidency expressed confidence Monday that the EU will take over the Galileo satellite project, faced with demands for more time and money from private builders. "I am confident we will reach a solution on that in June" when EU transport ministers meet, said German Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee, whose country holds the EU presidency until the end of next month.

"There will be greater participation by the public sector in the construction phase of the system," he said, three days before a deadline for the eight private builders to sort out their differences.

The Galileo project is meant to compete with the US Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) navigation system, which is free and used in many vehicles, boats and aircraft, but has been accused of being unreliable.

But almost two years after being named, a private consortium of industry giants -- AENA, Alcatel, EADS, Finmeccanica, Hispasat, Inmarsat, TeleOp and Thales -- has made little progress on the project, angering the commission.

"Galileo is going through a deep and grave crisis," Tiefensee said.

He said it was probable that public funds would be used in the "construction" of the system while the private partners would take responsibility for the "exploitation phase".

One official has said that completely taking over Galileo would cost a just less than two billion euros (2.7 billion dollars) on top of the 1.5 billion euros the European Commission already allocated in the 2007-2013 budget period.

EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot is due to present on May 16 a list of alternatives for the struggling project.

They are expected to range from totally taking over Galileo, a system of some 30 satellites which could be operational as late as 2013, partially financing the project or abandoning it altogether, officials have said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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GLONASS Potential Still To Be Realised
Moscow (UPI) May 01, 2007
Each of Russia's three Global Navigation Satellite System, or GLONASS, orbital planes will have eight satellites. The U.S. Global Positioning Satellite, or GPS, cluster, which also has 24 spacecraft, plus five stand-by satellites, will eventually increase to 48.

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