Galileo: Overcoming obstacles - History of EU global navigation satellite systems

06-04-2017

Galileo, the long-awaited European global navigation satellite systems, is at a turning point in its history: it reached initial operational capacity in December 2016 and is expected to be fully operational for 2021. This autonomous European civilian tool, which can be used anywhere on earth, transmits positioning and timing data from space for use on the ground to determine a user's location. Alongside it, the European geostationary navigation overlay system (EGNOS), which improves the accuracy and integrity of the American global positioning system (GPS) over EU territory, became fully operational in 2011. Despite decades of delays, difficulties and additional costs, Galileo and EGNOS have benefited from the continuous support of all EU institutions, and the European Union (EU) decided to provide the funding needed to complete both programmes. Galileo and EGNOS became the first infrastructure to be owned by the EU. Delays and cost over-runs can be explained through political, technical, industrial and security issues. It is estimated that by 2020, the EU and European Space Agency will have invested more than €13 billion in these programmes. This public investment, although much larger than that initially planned, matches the cost of similar programmes such as GPS, and is justified by the need for the European Union to have strategic autonomy in the field. The market uptake of the services and data provided by EGNOS and Galileo is a key priority of the European space strategy adopted in October 2016.

Galileo, the long-awaited European global navigation satellite systems, is at a turning point in its history: it reached initial operational capacity in December 2016 and is expected to be fully operational for 2021. This autonomous European civilian tool, which can be used anywhere on earth, transmits positioning and timing data from space for use on the ground to determine a user's location. Alongside it, the European geostationary navigation overlay system (EGNOS), which improves the accuracy and integrity of the American global positioning system (GPS) over EU territory, became fully operational in 2011. Despite decades of delays, difficulties and additional costs, Galileo and EGNOS have benefited from the continuous support of all EU institutions, and the European Union (EU) decided to provide the funding needed to complete both programmes. Galileo and EGNOS became the first infrastructure to be owned by the EU. Delays and cost over-runs can be explained through political, technical, industrial and security issues. It is estimated that by 2020, the EU and European Space Agency will have invested more than €13 billion in these programmes. This public investment, although much larger than that initially planned, matches the cost of similar programmes such as GPS, and is justified by the need for the European Union to have strategic autonomy in the field. The market uptake of the services and data provided by EGNOS and Galileo is a key priority of the European space strategy adopted in October 2016.