Galileo Groups Get Together As Germany Gags
Back on March 2/05, DID covered the EU’s inability to render a decision on bids for the EUR 3.2B ($4.2B) Galileo satellite navigation system. Instead, it asked the Eurely and iNavSat consortia to resubmit bids for a final selection within three months. This has now happened, with a twist: the consortia merged and presented a single bid. EADS SPACE Services, Inmarsat, and Thales joined from iNavSat, while Aena, Alcatel, Finmeccanica SpA, and Hispasat joined from the Eurely venture.
This would seem to end the wrangling, except that Galileo’s largest financier is now unhappy.
German Transport Minister Manfred Stolpe threatened Tuesday to cut its funding if the consortium in charge of the operation refuses to involve more German companies.
The German companies Jenoptik and T-Systems had initially hoped to play a complementary role in one or other of the consortia. Stolpe believes that, given the number of companies already involved, there will no further opportunity for German businesses to get involved. Given the recent announcement that India would join the project, the participation of China and Israel, and the inevitable work-sharing compromises involved in merging the two consortia, Stople may well be correct.
Germany is currently the largest financer of the Galileo project, having already contributed about EUR 100 million. It is scheduled to pay up another EUR 80 million shortly.
Sources & Additional Readings
- AFX News (June 21/05) – Germany threatens funding cut for Galileo if no German companies are involved
- SpaceRef.com (June 20/05) – Eurely and iNavSat consortia deliver a joint proposal for the Galileo Concession
- Silicon India (May 31/05) – India to participate in EU’s Galileo project
- DID (March 2/05) – EU Renders Non-Decision on Galileo Bids