UK to explore alternatives to the Galileo system

Posted on 20 Dec 2018 and read 656 times
UK to explore alternatives to the Galileo systemAccording to an article published earlier this month by ADS ( — the trade organisation for companies in the UK aerospace, defence, security and space sectors — late last month, the Prime Minister said that the UK will no longer seek access to secure aspects of Galileo, the EU’s Global Satellite Navigation System (GNSS).

This followed extensive negotiations between the UK and the EU over the extent of involvement that the UK’s national security, defence and critical national infrastructure sectors will have in the development of the secure system, as well as the level of industrial participation for the rapidly growing UK space sector (this sector has grown by 71% since 2012).

At the heart of this issue is the UK’s future involvement in the development of the encrypted Public Regulated Service (PRS) for Galileo, which is designed especially for government-authorised users.

While the UK will still be able to access the secure side of Galileo (presuming a security agreement is agreed), ADS says it was the UK’s exclusion from the development of the PRS that led the Government to conclude that it would not be in the UK’s security interests to use the system.

Instead, the Prime Minister has now confirmed that the UK will press ahead with developing a British GNSS, including an open and an encrypted service, that will be compatible with the existing US GPS system.

The UK space sector, regarded as a world leader in satellite manufacturing and innovation in satellite applications and technology, has the capability to face up to this challenge.

Indeed, 40% of all the small satellites currently in orbit are UK-built. The UK has also manufactured all the satellite payloads for Galileo to date, so the UK space sector is well placed to respond — not least through the £92 million investment that was announced earlier this year by the Government — to explore viable options for a new British system.

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