Europe’s GPS System at Risk
EU transport ministers issue ultimatum to consortium
March 24, 2007
By Peter Purton
The world’s first civilian satellite navigation system is in crisis after the European Union warned this week that it might cancel the project by May 10 if eight participating contractors could not agree on how to share the workload.
The Galileo project, which began in 1999, has been plagued by disagreements over the distribution of work, as well as inadequate organization and management within the bidding consortium, said Wolfgang Tiefensee, Germany’s transportation minister.
“The consortium has yet to resolve elementary issues,” he said. “That is why Galileo is still in a crisis.”
Galileo was supposed to have been in operation by 2008, but it now looks as if a fully operational commercial service may not be available before 2014.
Mr. Tiefensee, who is also E.U. council president, told the consortium Thursday that it had until May 10 to reach an agreement on the legal structure of a single operating company and appoint its chief executive. He noted that any further delay was “unacceptable.”
The consortium members are Aena, Alcatel-Lucent, Deutsche Telekom, EADS, Finmeccanica, Hispasat, Inmarsat and Thales.
The Galileo satellite navigation system is the European civil alternative to the U.S.’s Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), both funded and controlled by military authorities.
If Galileo goes ahead, it would be the first civil satellite positioning system and would be compatible with both GPS and GLONASS.
The Galileo project’s research phase, through 2009, will cost 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion), half of which will be funded by the European Union and half by the European Space Agency. The project’s deployment phase, through 2010, will cost 2.1 billion euros ($2.8 billion), one third of which will be funded by E.U. budgets and the rest from private sources. The commercial phase is due to start 2010 and no subsidy is envisaged.
Já hà vários dias que ando a ler notícias de pendor semelhante… 🙁