Jonathan Amos Profile picture
May 1, 2018 8 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Downing Street has put out a #Galileo note this evening saying the "Prime Minister will task engineering and aerospace experts in the UK to develop options for a British Global Navigation Satellite System". I'm told it "formalises" what we learnt last week 1/n
And on first reading, the statement doesn't take us much further forward than the @FT @peggyhollinger scoop. The statement says the UK still "seeks full participation in the EU’s #Galileo programme as part of its future security partnership." However... 2/n
"A taskforce of Government specialists and domestic industry will [now] develop options that will provide both civilian and encrypted signals, so a British system would have a similar range of commercial and security applications as the US GPS system." 3/n
The UK currently spends about €140m a year on #Galileo, with that sum set to rise in the coming years. The idea would be that this money would be spent on an indigenous system instead 4/n
The UK is still fighting the #Galileo battle. It effectively blocked the Batch 4 order for #Galileo satellites at an @esa council meeting last week (@esa is the technical and procurement agent for the EU on Galileo) 5/n
We still have the irony where the UK is the largest contributor to the NAVISP programme at @Esa which aims to get #Galileo ready for the coming IoT and Big Data revolution. That's probably still a sound investment because it will lead to major downstream returns. 6/n
And rights and wrongs aside, I'm genuinely interested in what you could do with sat-nav now if you started with a blank sheet of paper. How many satellites? LEO, MEO or GEO, or a combination of all three. 7/n
It would still cost a few billion, I'm sure, but perhaps not what #Galileo has cost. But don't doubt the economic value to the UK and Europe of sat-nav, and don't underestimate the dependence our economies now have on it. 8/n

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