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EC’s Tajani: Europe Needs Galileo’s Potential 90 Billion Euro GDP Boost

By | February 18, 2011

      [Satellite News 02-18-11] European Commission (EC) Vice President and Commissioner Antonio Tajani wants to make sure businesses in the European Union (EU) emerge strong from the recent stretch of difficult economic times.
          Tajani played a key role in shaping the EU’s 2020 strategy, which relies on the Galileo and European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) programs to strengthen the EU’s industrial capability. Tajani spoke with Satellite News about the latest mid-term review on these programs that projects completion costs of more than 5.3 billion euros ($7.13 billion).

      Satellite News: What are the major challenges to make Galileo a success in the current environment?

      Tajani: The major challenge in the short-term is to get the constellation in place for initial service provision. With an initial system based on 18 satellites we can start providing a number of basic services and prepare for the next step, which is the completion of the full constellation.

      Satellite News: What are the major points to come out of the program’s mid-term review?

      Tajani: The EC has achieved good results since it took over the management of the EGNOS and Galileo programs in 2008 and has implemented a clear governance structure with distinct and complementary roles for the commission, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the GNSS Agency (GSA). Another point is that the 3.4 billion euros ($4.62 billion) allocated to EGNOS and Galileo over the 2008-to-2013 period allow operating EGNOS since 2009 and will allow providing initial open service, search-and-rescue service and public regulated service for Galileo as of 2014-2015. The final point is that an estimated additional 1.9 billion euros ($2.58 billion) is required to complete the Galileo constellation. For the continued operations of Galileo, several options are presented and need to be further evaluated. The EC will present a proposal in the second half of 2011 regarding the governance and operation of the EGNOS and Galileo programs beyond 2013.

      Satellite News: What specifically will the 1.9 billion euros required to complete the program be spent on?

       Tajani: The money will be used to purchase the additional satellites required to complete the constellation, to complete the ground infrastructure and to have a realistic margin to cover for risks, which are inherent in such a complex high-technology program.

      Satellite News: What is the EC’s economic justification for Galileo?

      Tajani: EU member states and the EC knows that Europe needs Galileo to be independent in a sector that has become critical for its economy and for the well-being of its citizens. GPS and the GNSS from other nations are military systems with no guarantee of availability and performance. It is estimated that already 6 to 7 percent of the EU GDP, or 800 billion euros ($1.06 trillion), rely on satellite navigation applications. Satellite navigation applications have become more important in our daily lives, including for public services such as the police or emergency medical services. It is estimated that Galileo has the potential to generate additional economic and social benefits of between 60 billion and 90 billion euros ($81.47 and $122.2 billion) for the EU economy in terms of downstream applications and upstream markets and in terms of positive externalities in the period 2010 to 2027.

      Satellite News: What will happen with Galileo over the next two years?

       Tajani: In 2011, we will see the award of the two remaining contracts for the deployment, the completion of the ground infrastructure linked to the in-orbit validation phase and the launch of the first two satellites (under the in-orbit validation phase). The construction of the satellites and the ground infrastructure for the deployment phase will go on, and the third and fourth satellites will be launched in 2012.
          The contract for the ground mission segment is for the determination of the navigation, timing and integrity data and their transmission. The contract for the ground control segment is for supporting the management and control of the constellation. This includes control and monitoring of the satellites and payload, planning and automation functions that allow safe and correct operations to take place, and the support of payload related operations such as the uplink of navigation data.

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