THE EU’s decision to shut the UK out of Europe’s satellite navigation programme Galileo has already cost the country 100 jobs, despite Britain’s experts having a vital role in developing the technology.
To date the UK has committed £1.26billion (€1.4bn) to Galileo and has been closely involved in the development since its launch in 2003. But Britain will no longer have access to the world’s first civil-run satellite navigation system, due to Brussels no longer allowing Britain access to secure elements of Galileo when it leaves the EU. The decision has already affected the UK, with Airbus and Surrey Satellite Technology, SSTL, recently losing out on contracts to work on the project, despite the latter providing the brains for the current generation of Galileo satellites.
Brussels has warned that under EU law, Britain will no longer have access to the secure elements of Galileo when it leaves the union.
Notably, Brussels claim that under EU law, countries outside the block will not have access to Galileo’s public regulated service (PRS), an encrypted navigation system for government users.
It is this decision that has hit Airbus, the UK’s largest space company and commercial aerospace company.
The company, which designs and manufactures advanced satellites at its Stevenage site, and has run Galileo’s sensitive ground control operations from Portsmouth.
Airbus was frozen out by Brussels earlier this month, after failing to win a competitive tender for a follow up contract.
About 100 jobs, most of them temporary, have been lost at Portsmouth as a result, sources close to the company confirmed.
SSTL, the spin-off company of the University of Surrey owned by Airbus, has also been locked out of bidding to provide the fourth batch of satellites for Galileo, which is already under way.