PM urged not to rejoin Galileo space project: ‘Stealing from taxpayers for EU’s benefit!’

PM urged not to rejoin Galileo space project: ‘Stealing from taxpayers for EU’s benefit!’

10/11/2021

Brexit: Expert discusses future of Galileo space project

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The system is set to be fully functioning and in orbit by 2026, providing precision navigation for EU member states’ government agencies, armed forces and emergency services. Fears that the UK will be left behind in the space race post-Brexit have been mounting, but according to new data, Britons would not support any attempt to rejoin Galileo.

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When Britain left the EU, the nation lost its right to use the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), despite having contributed significantly to its creation.

Civil servants and parts of the industry have pushed for the Government to revive talks on rejoining – and the EU appears to be open to such a move.

In June, Timo Pesonen, the European Commission’s Director General for Defence Industry and Space, told a briefing in Brussels: “The European Union is open to negotiating with the UK on its participation in the EU space programmes. The ball is in London, not here.”

The Government previously insisted “the UK will not participate in the EU’s Galileo programme” – and a huge 87 percent of Express readers believe this is the right choice.

It comes following a poll of 8,028 people held from October 8 to 11.

One voter commented: “Whatever the EU touches turns into an expensive nightmare. We should leave Galileo well alone and pursue our own space interests. Otherwise, it will just be yet another way of stealing from UK tax-payers” (username Mr Sensible).

The UK has already teamed up with Indian firm Bharti Global to inject a combined £725million into space technology company OneWeb.

Many have already tipped this to be a future alternative to Galileo.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “The Government has set a clear ambition for a sovereign space programme which will bring long-term strategic and commercial benefits for the UK.”

As self-driving cars and boats are due to be introduced on mass over the next decade, the Government Office for Science has warned Boris that the need to improve the UK’s position, navigation and time-dependent (PNT) services is of “vital importance”.

One of the problems of taking on an independent space satellite project is the almighty cost to the public purse if any damages were to occur through solar storms and radiation.

New analysis by the UK Space Agency SBPNTP has reported that if a future space satellite system owned by the UK were to fail, it could cost the UK a staggering £1.7billion per day.

In comparison, any damages to Galileo would be shared between EU member states, making the economic hit to individual countries far more feasible.

Nevertheless, Britons are adamant that a move to rejoin Galileo would not be a wise move.

An Express reader said: “The UK should absolutely never again have a dependency on anything that the EU controls. As has frequently been the pattern with them, they’d turn around and use it as a bargaining chip to increase their influence in other countries affairs” (username Basil Faulty).

Another reader, Tolstoi, agreed: “The whole point of Brexit was to break away from the EU as they can’t be trusted. We should continue using the GPS system we have for decades that is operated by the US until we can afford to run our own system perhaps with partners that are not the EU.”

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Galileo was set up by the EU in hopes that it would end dependency on the US, China, and Russia for GPS tracking.

The EU’s space project is much further ahead in development than One Web, which has recently completed a successful test of internet connection from space on a low-earth orbit.

Do you think the UK will be left behind in the space race? Comment below.

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