Galileo project is ready for deployment, says Commission

The Commission has adopted a communication concluding that the
European satellite navigation project, Galileo, is ready to be
moved to the deployment and operational phases. China has
signed an agreement to fund and particpate in Galileo.

In a Communication adopted on 6 October, the Commission
announced that the conditions to launch the deployment and
operational phases of Galileo are now met: 

  • Sufficient private sector finance is in place to fund the
    subsequent stages
  • The Council adopted two decisions establishing the
    necessary structure for the management of the system (see EURACTIV, 18 June
  • The pressing issue of Galileo’s interoperability with the US
    GPS system is now resolved after months of negotiations with
    the signing of a bilateral agreement (see EURACTIV, 27 February 2004).

The Galileo Joint Undertaking, a body set up by the Comission
and the European space agency to manage the development phase of
the Galileo Programme, delivered an evaluation report of the two consortia
bidding to run Galileo, Eurely and iNavSat
to on 5 October. The
report confirmed the commercial
and financial viability of the system and related set of services
and that t
he Transport Council’s
objective of funding the deplyment of phase of
Galileo with two-thirds of private and one
third of public money will 
be reached. The final decision on
which international satellite consortium will build and run the its
Galileo satellite navigation system has been postponed until the
end of January, a month later than originally planned. The choice
has been put off because the bids from the two competing consortia
were so similar, said the spokesman for the Galileo Joint
Undertaking. The successful bidder will have to find at least
two-thirds of the 2.2 billion euro start-up cost. 

China officially joined Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation
system project after the country signed an agreement with the
European Union on 9 October in Beijing. Under the agreement, China
will provide two hundred million Euros for the project. So far,
this is China’s largest scientific project with foreign
countries. Other international partners will bring participate
in Galileo ‘s development. Israel has already signed an agreement
and discussions are under way with India, Russia, Brazil, South
Korea, Mexico and Australia.

If all goes as planned,
the Galileo satellite navigation
system will be smoothly moving closer to reality. In 2006
and 2007, the deployment phase will be launched with the manufacture and launch of satellites and
commercial exploitation will start from 2008. 


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