Continued British participation in “Galileo” is not guaranteedby Enea Desideri / May 3, 2018 / Leave a comment
If you were already struggling to grasp the earthly complexities of leaving the European Union, hold fast because Brexit has gone into orbit. Following reports that the UK could soon be cut out of the EU’s Galileo satellite programme, attention has recently shifted towards post-Brexit cooperation on space projects, including speculation that the British government could launch its own satellite system. But what is this all about?
Galileo is the EU’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Developed by the non-EU European Space Agency (ESA), it is funded and owned by the EU and supervised by the European Commission. It is scheduled to become fully operational in 2020 and, thanks to the anti-jamming and anti-spoofing capabilities of its Public Regulated Service (PRS) encrypted core, it should provide the EU with an alternative, and more accurate, navigation system to the American GPS. Some of Galileo’s services are open to the mass-market, but only member states have an automatic right to access its encrypted system.
The UK will generally remain part of EU agencies and bodies during the Brexit transition, and it could largely continue participating in the Galileo programme. But with uncertainty reigning supreme over future UK-EU relations, one immediate consequence of Brexit is that Galileo’s back-up security monitoring centre, which was set to be based near Southampton, will