Plans for a new sovereign satellite navigation system have been delayed for at least 6 months.
A feasibility study for a post-Brexit national alternative was launched in 2018 after the UK was excluded from the Galileo programme, having voted to leave the EU. But the plans are reported to have been delayed by at least 6 months, after disagreements over the scope and costs of the national project.
The study should have been published this month, but industry and official sources are quoted as saying that the project has now been put on hold, with disagreement between ministers and officials over what the final system should look like. Costs are also predicted to be £5bn - much higher than initial £3-4bn.
But it has been suggested that the pause offers an opportunity to do something radically different from Galileo, which was designed almost 2 decades ago. Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult and a member of the UK Space Council, explains:
‘This is an opportunity to do something that goes well beyond Galileo. If we do this it will give us an immediate export opportunity and we would be adding to the systems already there.’