The agreement of the European Space Agency's industrial policy and navigation program committees regarding the additional financing of Galileo's first industrial phase has been widely applauded. This initial phase consists of placing four satellites into orbit to validate the key technologies of this complex system. In its full deployment stage, the Galileo constellation will consist of 30 satellites, with the operational rollout expected at the end of 2010.
Particularly buoyed by the news that the financing has been given the green light is Alcatel, as one of the first satellites will be integrated by Alcatel Alenia Space in its Rome, Italy facility, and is scheduled to be launched early in 2006. "Thanks to this decision, the industrial teams in Europe – and notably Alcatel Alenia Space teams – will be able to work with the needed visibility to achieve this program within the time and financial frame," said Olivier Houssin, president of Alcatel's Private Communications and in charge of the company's space activities. "This green light will strengthen European technological competencies in satellite navigation and will encourage job creation in transport, telecommunications and safety domains."
ESA's strategic decision demonstrates Europe's will in establishing the Galileo program, essential for European autonomy, and for the development of new localization-based services. Once this first industrial phase has been achieved, a private concessionaire will ensure the financing, building and exploiting of the whole satellite constellation.