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European Satellite Project Over Budget, 13 Years Late

© ESA/J.HuartGalileo satellite system
Galileo satellite system - Sputnik International
The French Court of Auditors has found that the much-vaunted European Galileo and EGNOS satellite navigation program is three times over-budget and 13 years late in delivery, after a series of cost overruns and strategy failures.

The Galileo and European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) program is the first Pan-European satellite navigation system, providing a highly accurate global positioning service under civilian control.

It is designed to boost the explosion in satellite driven products and services in the EU. Galileo will provide Europe with independence in satellite navigation but will also be inter-operable with GPS and GLONASS, the two other global satellite navigation systems.

However, the French Court of Auditors has reported that its costs have risen to US$14.2 billion – well above the original budget of US$5 billion and that the program is already 13 years late. The Court reported delays and significant additional costs, saying that although EGNOS has been operational since 2009, Galileo will not begin until 2017.

The whole project – which was approved in 1999 – was due to be in operation by 2008, but now it is not estimated to be fully running until 2021. The report condemned the lack of space industrial strategy at European level and the fragility of the French industrial contribution.

Satellite Services

It is estimated that between six and seven percent of EU GDP is dependent on satellite technology and that the Galileo and EGNOS projects would be able to exploit the growing use of satellite systems. They will also be maintaining an independent European-owned system – rather than rely on US and other international satellite systems.

According to its website, independent studies show that Galileo will deliver around US$55 billion to the EU economy over the first 20 years of operations, in the form of direct revenues for industry and indirect revenues for society.

"The bottom line will be more jobs and more economic growth for Europe. Europe’s investment in Galileo opens the global market for European GNSS. In 2010, the global annual market for global navigation satellite products and services was valued at US$135 billion, and it is expected to reach US$266 billion in 2020," the company says.

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