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Europe's Galileo Program In Serious Trouble 403

elrous0 writes "Various news outlets are reporting that Europe's Galileo program is facing a serious financial and technical crisis and may be permanently stalled. The European program, designed to be a superior answer to the US's GPS — and, more critically, not controlled by the US — has faced numerous hurdles since its inception. To date the Galileo program has succeeded in launching only one of its 30 planned satellites and has been beset by delays and cost overruns. Apparently, squabbling between the eight companies in the consortium behind the project is responsible for many of the problems. The project is now threatened with an EU takeover. But some doubt that even an infusion of EU capital can save the flagging program."
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Europe's Galileo Program In Serious Trouble

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  • Re:Obvious (Score:2, Informative)

    by delt0r ( 999393 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @03:01PM (#19040789)
    The DOD get a little cash for *every* GPS reciver sold. You can't just build these things. You need to get a "licence". Also there is a thing called selective avaliblity.
  • by leather_helmet ( 887398 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @03:03PM (#19040829)

    Russia's space agency is preparing to launch eight satellites that will nearly complete a system designed to compete directly, by 2009, with the existing global positioning system technology of the United States. GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System), is expected to begin operations over Russian territory later this year, followed by coverage of adjacent parts of Europe and Asia. By controlling the only fully operational satellite navigation system in existence today, the United States holds a strategic advantage in times of conflict, according to Russian military officials. In theory, the United States could deny GPS navigation signals to countries with which it has a dispute. Such actions could affect industries as diverse as agriculture, oil production and banking, to say nothing of military operations. For the most part, the Russian system promises to be functionally equivalent to the existing GPS system, however it could be more accurate than GPS in regions where Russia has better access to terrestrial navigation aids. Some companies are already designing dual-chip navigation devices that support both systems.

    While Russia attempts its own GPS alternative, China has already launched satellites for its own Baidu system. The European Union's Galileo positioning system is still in the planning stages, having hit a snag with its private contractors over potential profits. The European Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System is scheduled to come online in 2011 with higher precision than the existing GPS and GLONASS networks. However, delays put the Galileo project more than four years off schedule and still counting.

    link to story []

    I'm looking forward to it, maybe it will lower the cost of aerial & satellite imagery in general - relying on IKONOS, SPOT is expensive

  • by wfberg ( 24378 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @03:18PM (#19041081)
    "they are responsible for keeping peace (within EU members states) for over 50 years"

    Huh? The EU started out as, and effectively remains, an economic organization. How did they "keep the peace".

    The EU started out as the European Coal and Steel Community, steel being the stuff you use to make bombs, trucks, tanks and other weaponry. One of the express purposes of regulation the steel and coal industries was to be able to prevent any country from suddenly starting a mass buildup of weaponry, like Germany's effort immediately preceding WWII.

    I predict we'll see open warfare between (soon-to-be) former EU nations within 20 years.

    Like you said - Europe's been at peace for "a fucking long time", but 50 years isn't enouigh to change huma nature, and the nature of humans is to make war.

    I'm sure that like US states for the past 142 years, we'll see fit to take it out on nations outside the federation.
  • Re:Piggyback US (Score:3, Informative)

    by digitig ( 1056110 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @03:29PM (#19041323)

    Its a very silly argument
    Well, when the US DoD publicly announced that in a conflict any GPS differential station would be considered to be a valid military target, even if it were on friendly soil, it didn't look so silly. And if GPS gets a virtual monopoly on navigation then the DoD could start charging pretty much whatever they like (even more credible with Block III satellites), which is a little worrying.
  • by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @03:47PM (#19041673)

    Europe's been at peace for "a fucking long time", but 50 years isn't enouigh to change huma nature, and the nature of humans is to make war.

    No, it isn't. Europe has been at peace and will continue to be at peace because of international trade. War is caused by two factors: (1) a psychopath manages to become dictator, or (2) you can realize a significant material gain from invading your neighbour. We must be eternally vigilant against (1) (and strong democratic institutions are a good defense), but for (2), there is no sense in invading your neighbour for its resources if your neighbours are willing to harvest what you want and deliver it to your door for about the same price as if you had done it yourself.

  • by hotsauce ( 514237 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @03:48PM (#19041703)
    The BBC has a great article with the EU founders about why it was created. A quick search instead brought this: []

    As another reply to your "Huh?" comment said, the EU had nothing to do with economics, and everything to do with preventing another war. If you've been to Europe recently and noticed how citizens see themselves as European first and nationals second, you will see they've done very well on their goals.
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @03:50PM (#19041729) Homepage Journal
    The EU hasn't been around for 50 years and has very little if nothing to do with those 50 years of peace.
    The reasons that Europe has had 50 years of peace are.
    1. Germany and France where both pretty well destroyed. So they spent a good number of hears rebuilding.
    2. Germany was rebuilt with a constitution that enforces none aggression. That was enforced by the US and the the UK for many years.
    3. The US rebuilt Europe both friend and foe alike with the Marshall Plan and continued Lend Lease.
    4. The US help found NATO to build cooperation in Europe and then funded a large percentage of the the European nations defense budgets.
    5. The USSR/WARSAW pact gave Western Europe a common fear and the US gave them protection.

    I keep hoping that part of it is that the members of the EU are just sick of killing each other. However historically a large part of that stability clearly came from the rise of the US as a superpower and the US being actively involved with Europe.

    Oh BTW a lot of people in Europe really don't share your wish for a European Army. I doubt that the UK would disband their Army and France would want to control the EU Army.

    So if you are only for the EU because it kept the peace... It didn't.

  • Re:*Cough* Bu11sh1t! (Score:3, Informative)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:03PM (#19041921)
    CM accuracy is available from GPS??? I wish the receiver in my car knew that!

    Well, pay a few thousand for a surveyor's GPS and let us know what accuracy you get. It'll be a little better than the systems found in cars and $100 GPS receivers. Just because you haven't heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Run a couple searches on GPS accuracy and check on it, include the word "centimeter" and see how many results you get and what they are about. Don't worry, we'll be here when you get back.
  • by wfberg ( 24378 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:03PM (#19041923)
    Probably not a prime purpose, though.

    The preambles of the Treaty of Paris:

    CONSIDERING that world peace may be safeguarded only by creative efforts equal to the dangers which menace it;

    CONVINCED that the contribution which an organized and vital Europe can bring to civilization is indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations;

    CONSCIOUS of the fact that Europe can be built only by concrete actions which create a real solidarity and by the establishment of common bases for economic development;

    DESIROUS of assisting through the expansion of their basic production in raising the standard of living and in furthering the works of peace;

    RESOLVED to substitute for historic rivalries a fusion of their essential interests; to establish, by creating an economic community, the foundation of a broad and independent community among peoples long divided by bloody conflicts; and to lay the bases of institutions capable of giving direction to their future common destiny;

    HAVE DECIDED to create a European Coal and Steel Community[..]

    Yeah, probably just a footnote in history.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:05PM (#19041967)
    The Euro has performed weakly compared to its goals and backing,

    Which goals are you talking about? From what I know, the inflation within the Eurozone has been not high in the years since the Euro's introduction. And while the Euro initially lost quite some value in comparison to the other main currencies, also here the Euro was doing very well for the last 5 years, even during a time when e.g. Germany's economic situation was much worse and the annual deficit was indeed above the 3% limit (unlike eg last year, when it was 1.7% or so...). Could you please explain in which aspects the Euro is performing weak?
  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:42PM (#19042629)
    "If you've been to Europe recently and noticed how citizens see themselves as European first and nationals second, you will see they've done very well on their goals"

    What the hell are you smoking??? Go to France, and be astounded at the Frenchness of the French. Go to Germany, and be astounded at their Germanness. Go to Sweden.... you get the point. Not only are all the countries resolutely individual, they are proud to be something specific. Finally, a couple of countries voted against the EU constitution, some never really joined (they are only part of the EU market), and you'll realize that Europe is a long way from become a nation.

    Whoever modded this informative hasn't been to Europe.
  • by kuldan ( 986242 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @05:45PM (#19043835)
    I guess the parent meant you must be using BSD,'cause linux is european stuff :)
  • by hotsauce ( 514237 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @03:50PM (#19056867)
    I've been to all those countries of course.

    I've also been to New Mexico, and been "astounded" at their "New Mexican-ness", been to Texas, and been "astounded" at their "Texan-ness", and been to Kansas, and been "astounded" at their "Kansan-ness". However, they all still identify themselves as Americans. Europeans never did this before the EU, and they definitely do now.

    Whoever modded your comment informative can't get beyond American notions of nations. (Not that I ever claimed Europe was one.)

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus