The Galileo global satellite navigation systems (GNSS) based on a constellation of 30 satellites placed in a medium earth orbit (at an altitude of approximately 24 000 km), was first seen as a pillar for the emerging European space policy, showing Europe's ambitions in space, technology, and innovation
. Unfortunately, it risks sinking as the consortium partners sponsoring it failed to agree on sharing financial risks. In addition, during the fourth European Space Council, the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) endorsed a joint document that hardly mentioned it.
After Galileo consortium member companies - AENA, Alcatel-Lucent, EADS, Finmeccanica, Hispasat, Inmarsat, TeleOp and Thales - backed off from their engagement in the European alternative to the US Global Positioning System (GPS), the European Commission was considering taking over the system. Hence, the Commission was asked to come forward with appropriate proposals for the situation. The option favoured by the Commission consisted of full public-sector financing of the construction of the Galileo satellite infrastructure by 2012
, after which the exploitation of the operational satellite system could be done in a public-private-partnership (PPP).
But the future of Galileo still pending, especially after the European Space Council where, Commissioner Günter Verheugen’s positions fully disagree with the convenience of Galileo
as the most important project of the European space policy.
Galileo at a cross-road communicationWorking documentResolution of the European space policy