WASHINGTON — The British authorities, in search of a alternative for the Galileo satellite tv for pc navigation system, stated it would think about alternate options to an unique plan to develop its personal satellite tv for pc constellation.
In a Sept. 24 assertion, the British authorities’s Division for Enterprise, Vitality and Industrial Technique stated an ongoing examine to look at the feasibility of a U.Okay. International Navigation Satellite tv for pc System (GNSS) will shift to 1 that can take a look at “new and alternative routes” of offering these providers.
The brand new Area-Primarily based Positioning Navigation and Timing Programme (SBPP) will “think about newer, extra progressive concepts of delivering world ‘sat nav’ and safe satellite tv for pc providers to satisfy public, authorities and business wants,” the division introduced in its assertion.
The U.Okay. GNSS effort began in 2018 when the British authorities failed to succeed in an settlement with the European Union about continued participation within the E.U.’s Galileo satellite tv for pc navigation program as soon as Britain leaves the E.U. With out an settlement, the British authorities wouldn’t have entry to Galileo’s safer navigation service, and wouldn’t be capable to take part in improvement and operation of the system. Nevertheless, it will have entry to the free Galileo providers, just like these supplied by the American GPS system and comparable ones operated by China and Russia.
The idea of a British satellite tv for pc navigation system received a skeptical reception inside Britain. Whereas the nation’s house business has the capabilities to construct navigation satellites, the excessive value of even a modest satellite tv for pc navigation system, estimated by exterior specialists at a number of billion , raised doubts that it will be viable.
The announcement didn’t disclose particulars of different approaches the British authorities is pursuing. Nevertheless, it advised it will embody OneWeb, the low Earth orbit broadband megaconstellation that the federal government, together with Indian firm Bharti International, is buying from chapter. It additionally opened the door for cooperation with worldwide companions.
“By means of our Area-Primarily based Positioning Navigation and Timing Programme, we’ll draw on the strengths of the UK’s already thriving house business to grasp our necessities for a strong and safe satellite tv for pc navigation system,” Enterprise Secretary Alok Sharma stated in a press release. “This consists of contemplating low orbiting satellites that would ship appreciable advantages to individuals and companies proper throughout the UK, whereas doubtlessly decreasing our dependency on overseas satellite tv for pc methods.”
The British authorities’s curiosity in OneWeb has lengthy been related to its planning for a satellite tv for pc navigation system. Nevertheless, utilizing OneWeb for navigation wouldn’t be an easy method. The corporate’s constellation will function in low Earth orbit, reasonably than the medium Earth orbits utilized by Galileo, GPS and different navigation methods, and can function at a special frequency than these historically used for navigation.
Any use of OneWeb for satellite tv for pc navigation is unlikely to contain the present technology of satellites being constructed, if these satellites require modifications to offer navigation providers. OneWeb introduced Sept. 21 a revised contract with Arianespace to renew launches of its satellites utilizing 16 Soyuz rockets over a two-year interval beginning in December. The corporate halted launches of the satellites when it filed for Chapter 11 chapter in March.
OneWeb, in a tweet after the British authorities announcement, stated it welcomed the brand new examine and “stands able to work with companions to develop [position, navigation and timing] options throughout a world footprint for the U.Okay. and companions.”
The British authorities didn’t present a schedule for finishing the SBPP examine. The unique U.Okay. GNSS examine, for which the British authorities allotted £92 million ($117 million), will formally finish Sept. 30.