Brussels, 19 March 2002
Eight European companies signed a memorandum of understanding in Brussels on 18 March, which sees the creation of 'Galileo services'.
Galileo services brings together enterprises with a strategic interest in the development of the downstream market (terminals, applications and services) generated by Galileo, the European satellite navigation programme. These enterprises have already expressed their readiness to invest in research and development programmes linked to Galileo, notably through the Sixth Framework programme (FP6).
On signing the agreement, the partners insisted on the need for complementarity between the American GPS system and Galileo, saying that it should be 'not more accurate than GPS, but more reliable by guaranteeing continuous service.' The group also urged the Transport Council, meeting on 26 March, to give the final go ahead to Galileo. They warned that if an agreement is not reached in March, frequencies may be lost and Galileo will lose the benefit of lucrative markets if it is launched after the introduction of the new generation American GPS system.
The partners will seek to promote the role of industry in the Galileo programme and to ensure that its development corresponds to the expectations of future users.
The group includes Etelsat (satellite operator), FDC (research consultancy), Hispasat (satellite operator), Indra (space applications), Kongsberg-Seatex AS (electronic systems for the maritime sector), Septentrio (designer of GNSS receivers), Telespazio (satellite services provider) and Thales (manufacturer of GNSS receivers). Participants have indicated that the group remains open to other participants, perhaps even to US companies in the longer term.