EU Going Ahead With Galileo

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After the private European companies picked to build the controversial Galileo space-based navigation system couldnít find a way to make it work financially, the European Union has decided to build the system itself, at an estimated cost (some say conservative) of $4.6 billion. The system, which will use 30 satellites and is touted as being more accurate than the U.S. Air Forceís GPS, is expected to be operational by 2012. Last month a consortium of eight European companies walked away from the project, saying the costs were too high. Although the U.S.-based system works fine in Europe, the European Union sees developing Galileo as a high-tech job creator, which is not enough for critics who say it isnít needed. But while GPS is fine for civilian aircraft, the strategic advantages of a proprietary satellite navigation system are likely the impetus behind the EUís decision. GPS signals can be degraded, distorted and shut off at the discretion of the U.S. Air Force, something European military leaders are likely not happy about.