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After Brexit

Galileo Project and the UK after Brexit

The Prime Minister has confirmed, in a Press Release, that the UK will not use Galileo for defence or critical national infrastructure after Brexit and will build its own Global Navigation Satellite System.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-to-tell-eu-it-will-no-longer-seek-access-to-secure-aspects-of-galileo

The UK will explore options to build its own Global Navigation Satellite System that can help guide military drones, run energy networks and provide essential services for civilian smart phones. It will also work with the US to continue accessing its trusted GPS system.

UK Space Agency (UKSA) is currently leading the work, with the full support of the Ministry of Defence, and any British system will provide both open and encrypted signals, giving it the same range of commercial and security applications as GPS and Galileo.

British Armed Forces were due to have access to Galileo’s encrypted system when it is fully operational in 2026. However the National Cyber Security Centre and Ministry of Defence have concluded it would not be in the UK’s security interests to use the system’s secure elements if it had not been fully involved in their development.

The Prime Minister, Theresa May said:

I have been clear from the outset that the UK will remain firmly committed to Europe’s collective security after Brexit. But given the Commission’s decision to bar the UK from being fully involved in developing all aspects of Galileo it is only right that we find alternatives. I cannot let our Armed Services depend on a system we cannot be sure of. That would not be in our national interest. And as a global player with world-class engineers and steadfast allies around the world we are not short of options.

In August the Prime Minister tasked British engineering and aerospace experts to develop options and set aside £92 million for the plans. Since then over fifty UK companies have expressed interest in the project and a series of key contracts are now being tendered.

When commissioning options the PM set out that the British system must be compatible with the US GPS system, meaning that if either were subject to malicious attack the other could provide crucial positioning information.

The Prime Minister has also confirmed that the UK is in close contact with key international allies on plans for the national system.

The UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies would be used to provide the global network of locations needed for the necessary ground-based infrastructure and worldwide coverage.

Recent estimates indicate that over 11 per cent of the UK’s GDP is directly supported by satellite navigation systems and the Blackett review estimated that a failure of service could cost the UK economy £1 billion a day. Resilient and secure position, navigation and timing services are increasingly essential for defence, critical national infrastructure and emergency response.

The UK is a world-leader in developing satellite technology. Britain has a 40% share of the global export market for small satellites and makes major components for one in four of the world’s telecommunications satellites. Glasgow builds more satellites than any other European city. The UK has particular expertise in security, cryptography and satellite manufacture, and has manufactured all of the Galileo satellite payloads to date.

As part of the modern Industrial Strategy the government is committed to growing the UK space sector – helping create 30,000 high-skilled jobs by 2030.

Categories
After Brexit

Options for an independent satellite system for the UK

The UK Government confirmed that the UK Space Agency will lead work to develop options for a British Global Navigation Satellite System.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-space-agency-leads-work-on-options-for-independent-satellite-system

The UK Government has confirmed today it is developing options for a British Global Navigation 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.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

This taskforce will develop options for an independent satellite navigation system using the world-beating expertise of Britain’s thriving space sector. We have made our position clear to the European Commission and highlighted the importance of the UK to the Galileo programme.

It is now right that we explore alternative options to ensure our security needs are met as we continue to take full advantage of the opportunities that exist in the global space sector, through our modern Industrial Strategy.

Dr Graham Turnock, CEO of UK Space Agency said:

As the Government has made clear, we should begin work now on options for a national alternative to Galileo to guarantee our satellite positioning, navigation and timing needs are met in the future. The UK Space Agency is well placed to lead this work and will use a wide-range of expertise from across the space, engineering and security sectors.

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.

The Business Secretary Greg Clark wrote to the Commission last month expressing concern about its intention to exclude the UK from the secure elements of Galileo. The UK Space Agency has been engaging regularly with the UK companies involved and will now lead the work to develop potential alternative options.

The recent Blackett review estimated that a failure of navigation satellite service could cost the UK economy £1 billion a day. Resilient and secure position, navigation and timing information is increasingly essential for defence, critical national infrastructure and emergency response.

The UK Space Agency is driving the growth of the space sector as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy with major initiatives including the National Space Test Facility at Harwell, and the UK continues to be a leading member of the European Space Agency, which is independent of the EU.

New figures released today by the ADS Group trade body show that in 2017 the UK space industry was worth around £15 billion a year in turnover, with exports of £5.4 billion and 71 percent growth since 2012.