Agreement reached on Galileo

May 28, 2003

Brussels, May 2003

The members of the European Space Agency (ESA) have reached an agreement on the funding contributions to Galileo, Europe's satellite navigation system, clearing the way for the official launch of the project.

The approval of the Joint Undertaking foundation, to be signed by ESA and the EU, was delayed after ESA member countries were unable to agree on the division of financial contributions. Those countries that invest more in the project will see higher returns in the form of contracts, and governments were therefore in the unusual situation of wishing to contribute more than was agreeable to their fellow ESA members.

The agreement will be finalised at the ESA ministerial council on May, and details are expected to emerge soon afterwards.

'This is a great day for Europe in general and its space community in particular,' said ESA Director General Antonio Rodotà, following the agreement. 'Conscious of the economic, industrial and strategic importance of satellite navigation, our Member States have reached agreement in the common interest. [...] Galileo is definitely a reality.'

The Joint Undertaking will have its headquarters in Brussels, and will be responsible for the development and validation phase as well as the preparations for systems deployment and operations. This will be the first project carried out jointly by ESA and the European Union.

Chair of the ESA ministerial council and German Minister for Education and Research Edelgard Bulmahn welcomed the news, which she believes signifies that 'Europe has once again proven to be able to remain at the forefront of high level technology for a programme useful to each of us in our everyday life.'

Ms Bulmahn also announced her intention to call for the restructuring and consolidation of European launchers at the meeting on May. The minister believes that the European aerospace industry must take more responsibility for the construction and operation of launchers so that, 'In the long term, public research investment should only go towards the development of new technologies.'

The consolidation of Europe's launchers should be achieved through the awarding of the contract for the production of the Ariane launching rocket to one company, believes Ms Bulmahn. 'We have to create competitive structures in a very hard fought market,' she said on 26 May.

Other issues for discussion at the meeting include the opening up of the European launch site in Kourou to the Russian launcher Soyuz, contributions to the development of the international space station (ISS) and collaboration between ESA and the EU.

Further information: igation_0.html

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Boats docked in Port Hercule, Monaco

Richard Murphy praises a bold effort to halt tax-dodging by the 1 per cent

It’s a question with no easy answer, finds James Derounian

  • James Fryer illustration (19 November 2015)

With no time for proper peer review and with grade inflation inevitable, one academic felt compelled to resign

  • Lisa Mckenzie, Class War Party candidate, Chingford

Anarchist academic reflects on what her recent brush with the law says about threats to academic freedom

  • Worker checks thin-film silicon solar module, Truebbach

Asia doubles representation while European countries face varied performance