UK Space Agency leads work on options for independent satellite system
Led by the UK Space Agency, a taskforce of Government specialists and industry will work quickly to develop options that will provide both civilian and encrypted signals and be compatible with the GPS system.
The UK is already a world-leader in developing satellite technology, building 40 per cent of the world’s small satellites and one in four commercial telecommunications satellites.
UK companies have made a critical contribution to the EU Galileo programme, building the payloads for the satellites and developing security systems. The taskforce will draw on this experience and expertise as it develops plans for an innovative system that could deliver on the UK’s security needs and provide commercial services.
The UK will be able to use Galileo’s open signal in the future, and British Armed Forces and emergency services were due to have access to the encrypted system when it is fully operational.
The Government has been clear there is a mutual benefit to the UK remaining involved in Galileo and is working hard to deliver this. Without the assurance that UK industry can collaborate on an equal basis and without continued access to the necessary security-related information, the UK could be obliged to end its participation in the project. ■