back to article Galileo 'can deploy 24 satellites with existing funding'

The European Commission has announced a raft of contracts for the Galileo sat nav programme, and says that cost problems have been reined in to such a degree that the system will come close to planned operational performance without needing to request extra funding from European politicians. It had been expected that the …


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  1. George 24


    Glad to see the EU providing competition to the US. I wonder how many patent quarrels this will generate.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Excellent

      Competition? Where?

      As there's no profit involved (quite the reverse) what are they competing for? "Who can piss the biggest cash stain on the wall"? "Our willy is bigger than your willy"?

      That is a fuckload of cash to splurge on possibly getting a better fix on a receiver that's dual system capable, an aim which could have been accomplished far more simply, for a lot less cash and without changing receivers by chucking a few more sats into GPS.

      Still, nice to see that there are a few sheep around prepared to buy into the mind-numbing bullshit that 4.8bn and counting[1] is worth it for "not being dependant on the US system". Yeah. Right. Heads up people, what you are paying for here is making the overpaid, fat-arsed Eurocrats feel even more important.

      [1] Gets 'em 24[2] and they want 30.

      [2] Assuming that the usual cost overruns associated with anything like this miraculously fail to appear.

      1. Gaius


        What is this "encrypted government only" lark? If I'm paying for it I bloody well want full use of it.

        1. Annihilator


          "What is this "encrypted government only" lark? If I'm paying for it I bloody well want full use of it."

          Epic logic. I'd demand a go on HMS Illustrious or similar, after all, *you* paid for it apparently...

      2. Bumpy Cat

        More accuracy

        The potential of combining GPS, Galileo and GLONASS signals on one device makes it worthwhile. If one party tries to hide/reduce/remove their signal, the others will still work, and more importantly you can get excellent accuracy.

        1. Colin Millar


          It makes it worth 4.8bn?

          In the middle of a massive recession where whole countries are collapsing into economic ruin it's worth it so that you don't lose your precious GPS signal?

          And where is the money coming from - oh yeah - the agriculture budget - not that food prices have been spiking recently or anything.

          I am sure there's loads of Greek people at this very moment cheering at the prospect of a more accurate satnav.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Speaking as a military *and* civilian user ...

            Yes, greater accuracy is worth 4.8bn.

            Also, 4.8bn from the whole EU is actually a small amount - the UK alone gave almost three times that to the UK part of the last Greek bailout, matched by similar amounts from France, Germany etc.

            Also, I am *very* happy to see 4.8bn of EU funding going to space science.

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge


      It's not competition as the US can switch it off if they want:

  2. Sandy106


    "France in particular has long chafed at being reliant on US-controlled satellites"

    Someone sounds jealous

    1. Anonymous Coward

      More like

      I think it's more like France not liking the "rules & regulations" for how they use GPS, and France do like to export arms to various nations.

      Also fear of the US holding a big "OFF" switch on all the French made arms (Imagine that all MS software could be deactivated in your company on the whim of MS).

      However your troll made me smile & chuckle, so I raise a 500ml to your jest :)

      1. cloudgazer

        Exactly right

        This is just a huge EU boost to the French arms industry.

        1. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

          I spy with my little eye a remote kill switch...

          OK, so the French now have their nice new shiny US-independent positioning system for their nice, shiny US-independent guided weapons systems. Does anyone want to bet how long Galileo will last after a shiny, US-independent guided weapon is used against a US military asset in the field?

          At the very least, US warships will now routinely jam Galileo frequencies wherever they go, to throw off such weapons (as will pretty much all other US military systems on the off chance); and if the UK Government ever decided to implement, say, a car charging system based on Galileo then UK civilian hacktivists would get in on the act too. GPS survives because it isn't a threat to the US and nobody has decided to be evil with it in stupid, easily-thwarted ways; commercialisation of Galileo in stupid or evil ways is likely to change all that in very short order.

  3. Robert E A Harvey


    Good to see some really useful work coming out of ESA.

    Now build a spaceplane, lads, on the profits. (You are going to charge a licence fee, right?)

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Oh great... vehicle tracking, citizen tracking, ISA (was EVSC) and auto-fines can be applied globally.

    1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge


      "Now build a spaceplane, lads, on the profits. (You are going to charge a licence fee, right?)"

      I think with the amount of money spent on it so far, it will take many years before it returns a profit

  5. cav71

    5b only?

    it looks like a bargan .. and it will generate quality jobs ... and they will make things ... people might found it useful ... and there's sombedy complaining about a cost overrun? Rescuing banks wasn't exactly a cost overrun and it has lost jobs, destroyed economies and it was a utterly gift to the already richer.

  6. Alan Brown Silver badge


    Not that much, when you compare it to how much Heathrow Terminal 5 cost.

    I think it's money better spent than on T5 too.

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Under US pressure they changed the operating frequency so our valiant allies can jam the system whenever they please without affecting their GPS capability, so much for an independent system then, the initial justification for creating it was a civilian system that US military couldn't turn off, now that we have surrender that why exactly we continue to throw money at it?

    1. Andrew Martin 1

      Jamming isn't the same as turning off

      You can't currently base safety-critical systems - like autopilots - on GPS because its availablilty to anyone other than the USAF is on a grace and favour basis. A system without a foreign-controlled central kill switch (ooh, bad pun, sorry) is of great value for civilian uses, even if the Septics are making sure that they're not going to get their ships hit by Galileo-guided missiles.

      1. Paul 129

        Jamming signals

        Trasmitted from a ship? Isn't that just a big "KICK ME" sign?

  8. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    It's a question of escalation, they can jam it over a small area - but they could also just shoot down the satelites.

    The US might do this over a small middle eastern country the next time they are feeling adventuress but without the Galileo they could take the much easier step of shutting down road pricing, light rail, bad weather landing and a bunch of other stuff all over europe next time there is a disagreement over farm subsidies

  9. Anonymous Coward


    "Glad to see the EU providing competition to the US. I wonder how many patent quarrels this will generate."

    ... except the US don't charge for it - think you mean DUPLICATION not COMPETITION (and at massive cost).

  10. Anonymous Coward


    "it looks like a bargan .. and it will generate quality jobs ... "

    Hardly - nearly 5bn we didn't actually need to spend.

    For almost all consumers GPS works very well already - so they either will not know or care when there are more satellites up there. It's good for resilience (as long asthe GPS equipment is capable of using both signals) but realistically it's not as if GPS has been unreliable.

  11. JoeH 1

    Will it work...

    ...through the wires of a heated windscreen?

    Reception can be very iffy at present, even with the SatNav in the corner of the windscreen where there is supposed to be a clear area.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      No it won't

      Not because of the Ford heated screen but because your kit is NOT compatible with Le EU GPS a like. In a few years please buy all your kit over again then it should work.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Combo receivers?

    So it's incompatible with the existing GPS system.

    None of the many many many currently existing GPS receivers in cars, phones and stand alone devices etc will benefit in any way whatsoever from this EU $5bn Boondoggle.

    To do that you need to go out and buy new (not yet existing) kit.

    Gee thanks for that. What great value for us taxpayers.

    $5bn is a small price to pay for keeping 'les generales et admirals de france' happy.

    Ooh and for being 30cm instead of 99cm from our destination, cos it's not like your already so close you could practically 'reach out and touch' the destination.

    Yes thats a great use of $5bn why ever didn't we think of splurging this before.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The irony...

    "In a few years please buy all your kit over again then it should work."

    The irony being most of the kit is either from the US (Garmin etc.) or the Far East. Realistically most people will not bother buying new kit - they may just get it when they replace an item with something newer / better.

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