European Auditors Criticize Oversight of Galileo Program

[Satellite Today 07-01-09] The management of the development and validation phase of the Galileo satellite navigation program “was inadequate” and the proposal for a public-private partnership to oversee the venture “was unrealistic,” the European Court of Auditors said June 29.
    The organization investigated the program’s development from September 2003 through December 2006, when the Galileo Joint Undertaking (GJU), a management vehicle set up by the European Commission and the European Space Agency, managed the development and validation phase of the satellite program. The audit findings cover the different tasks of the GJU during the development and validation phase as well as issues related to public-sector governance. The Court also assessed the reasons why the GJU did not achieve most of its objectives. 
     “The Galileo program experienced problems at different levels,” the report said. “… The audit examined which factors accounted for the failure of the concession process, concluding that the PPP was inadequately prepared and conceived. As a result, the GJU was required to negotiate a PPP which was unrealistic.” The GJU also was constrained by individual governments that promoted their own interests above the good of the program, the report said.
    While no operational satellites have been placed in orbit, the European Union still hopes to begin Galileo services in 2013.

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