The German government yesterday threatened to use all means short of warfare to stop France gaining control over Europe’s £2billion Galileo satellite venture, the EU’s grandest industrial project to date. A rival to America’s GPS Global Positioning System, Galileo is designed to break strategic dependence on the United States and propel Europe into the lead in space technology.
Launching 30 satellites into orbit by 2008, the network offers pinpoint accuracy for mobile telephones, air traffic control, maritime navigation, and a host of different uses - ultimately including EU defence.
But the scheme has been hamstrung by infighting between the French and Germans, the latest case of corporate friction that belies the cosy political rhetoric of the two countries’ leaders.
I don’t see why the USA should have a problem with the project, except for the people running it (which is more of a problem for the project than the USA). At $3B, it’s a cheap way to get some redundancy for a service that is becoming increasingly necessary. The concept that it’s a rival to GPS is clearly ludicrous. Rival for what? Would the owner of either system get a penny of revenue from it? Moreover, within 3 months of Galileo becoming operational, dual system receivers will be available in the consumer market. Within 2 years everyone will have receivers that run on both systems and do cross checks for greater reliability and accuracy.
I supopse there are arguments about the USA being able to turn off GPS in war zones, but