EU’s Galileo plan dismantled as bloc ready to work with UK despite Brexit dispute | UK | News

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The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) was designed to compete with the American GPS system, with a regulated public service (PRS) that will be used by government agencies, the military and emergency services when launched. in 2026. But the EU has claimed the most crucial feature – PRS – would only be accessible to members of the bloc when the first satellite launches, despite the UK providing the ‘brain and heart’ for it. The government, seeking to replace Galileo, has said it will consider alternatives to an original plan to develop its own constellation of satellites.

This now means dropping former Prime Minister Theresa May’s £ 5bn proposal for a UK GNSS system by suing OneWeb – the low-earth orbit broadband constellation that the government, along with Indian firm Bharti Global, has acquired from bankruptcy.The new Space Navigation and Timing Program (SBPP) “will examine newer and more innovative ideas for providing global ‘satellite navigation’ and secure satellite services to meet the needs of the public, government and the community. ‘industry”.

And the chair of the Parliamentary Space Committee, MP David Morris, says it’s a smart move.

He told Express.co.uk: “If you think of Galileo compared to OneWeb’s figure, I would say the system is worth more than the £ 500million we put in.

“We have a very good investment, almost a good deal – it’s already up and running and making two satellites a day.

Boris Johnson has plan to bring Britain back to Galileo (Image: GETTY)

EU says UK will not be involved in Galileo (Image: GETTY)

“Other partners want to get involved and it will pay off very quickly.

“My gut on the way things are going is that even though everyone is talking harshly, saying ‘you can’t be part of the Galileo club’, there has already been a lot of British investment in this club.

“I think it will have repercussions for UK businesses.”

OneWeb has confirmed that it will start launching broadband capable high-speed LEO satellites again from December.

Currently, OneWeb has 74 compact LEOs orbiting Earth and their original plan was to send 648 satellites to achieve global coverage by the end of 2021, before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

But Mr Morris says he has the potential for a lot more and that will spark interest in the block.

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Theresa May called for a UK £ 5bn GNSS system

Theresa May called for a UK £ 5bn GNSS system (Image: GETTY)

He added: “Over time you are going to see more British involvement with Galileo, even if it is not from government sources.

“We will always deal with them, even if it is not through the government’s record.

“All of these systems can be interconnected. I think we’ll continue to work with Galileo in one form or another, even though – officially – politicians say we won’t deal with him at all.

“I’m absolutely certain that at some level we will.

“We have the potential to let them use OneWeb as a compromise for Galileo.”

OneWeb was designed primarily as a broadband constellation – it will provide rural 4G internet signals and one day 5G in hard-to-reach places.

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David Morris spoke to Express.co.uk

David Morris spoke to Express.co.uk (Image: COMMUNES)

The company’s constellation will operate in low earth orbit, rather than the medium earth orbits used by Galileo, GPS and other navigation systems, and will operate at a different frequency than those traditionally used for navigation.

But while the plan will see the first set of OneWeb satellites used for broadband, future developments could include navigation capability.

It will be a huge moment for the UK space industry, but the move will also put the UK in direct competition with Elon Musk’s Starlink, which already has 500 satellites in space.

Built by SpaceX, the company aims to create a constellation of low-earth orbit satellites that can also transmit the Internet to more rural areas.

But OneWeb has something that Mr. Musk doesn’t, according to Mr. Morris.

Galileo will be fully operational in 2026

Galileo will be fully operational in 2026 (Image: GETTY)

He added, “Elon Musk is an absolute genius, but his staff are very good at the media.

“What has not been explained is that the orbits of these satellites that Musk owns are confined only to the US orbit, so it’s not global.

“It’s not like what we have with OneWeb and it’s a big deal, people always forget it’s not how many satellites you have, but their coverage.

“So if you have a LEO capability that is global and runs on a system that we have autonomy over, that’s very valuable for all the partners who want to come and use it.

“What you’ll find in the space industry is that the lifespan of a satellite for a company is around five years, but it can then be leased to other companies because it travels over. different orbits.

“These assets stay up there and can be used for an extended life at a cheaper rate.

Elon Musk's Starlink also operates in low Earth orbit

Elon Musk’s Starlink also operates in low Earth orbit (Image: GETTY)

“The technology may have changed, but it remains a valuable asset as an exchange product for the satellite application.”

After a nine-month delay, the next satellites in the OneWeb constellation will be launched into space on the nose of a Soyuz rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

Founded in 2012, OneWeb has raised about $ 3 billion (£ 2.33 billion) from investors to build its mega constellation, but the company went bankrupt in March after failing to raise more money from the main investor SoftBank.

And although Mr Morris thinks the UK got a ‘good deal’, he says the government’s motivation is not purely financial.

He said: “If you go back in time to when it all started with OneWeb, the coronavirus wasn’t really on the horizon.

“It was just beginning and no one knew what was going to happen.

OneWeb will provide global coverage

OneWeb will provide global coverage (Image: ONEWEB)

“If you look at it in the cold light of day, we ended up with a satellite capacity using British technology and operating at a NASA site that cost billions of dollars to develop.

“We got it for £ 500million – that’s a lot of money for me and for you – but in terms of space it’s a drop in the ocean.

“Look how much we put into Galileo, and it was just throwing it in a jar, now we have something very similar for a fraction of the cost.

“It’s obvious and we got it at half price.”

The MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale thinks projects like OneWeb are essential for Britain’s Brexit.

UK will have the potential to run things on its own terms

UK will have the potential to run things on its own terms (Image: GETTY)

He continued, “I think what’s going on here is GNSS was very ambitious, a lot of money was invested in it – but to say it was a failure is not nice.

“The point is, we’ve spent a lot of money on it and we’ll have to spend more to develop it.

“All of a sudden something else happens and there is a bit of political will there.

“We have to get our own sovereignty out of Europe, we are under pressure from both sides of the political ball game with Galileo and 5G.

“We have to look to the future at how we can deliver this on our own without relying on others – these platforms grow and evolve and now we can be self-sufficient from everyone else on our own terms.”

“The point is, we’ve spent a lot of money on it and we’ll have to spend more to develop it.

“All of a sudden something else happens and there is a bit of political will there.

“We have to get our own sovereignty out of Europe, we are under pressure from both sides of the political ball game with Galileo and 5G.

“We have to look at how we can deliver this ourselves without relying on others – these platforms are growing and evolving and we can now be self-sufficient from everyone else on our own terms.”



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