The Government has announced that it will explore new options for a national satellite navigation and timing capability programme to support critical infrastructure.
The 24 September announcement explains that the Space-Based Positioning Navigation and Timing Programme (SBPP) ‘Will explore new and alternative ways that could be used to deliver vital satellite navigation services to the UK which are critical for the functioning of transport systems, energy networks, mobile communications and national security and defence, whilst boosting the British space industry and developing the UK’s own capabilities in these services’.
The SBPP will follow the work of the UK’s GNSS programme, which is due to conclude at the end of September. This GNSS programme had developed plans for a conventional satellite system as an alternative to GPS or Galileo. The programme will now be reset as the SBPP to ‘Build on this work to consider newer, more innovative ideas of delivering global satnav and secure satellite services to meet public, government and industry needs’.
The statement explains that SBPP could include technology that supports people’s everyday lives, such as emergency services to locate incidents, financial services to regulate stock market exchanges or energy networks to ensure households receive power. Satellite navigation systems are also necessary for unlocking future technologies such as driverless cars, smart cities and artificial intelligence – transforming the way people live, work and travel.
The statement concludes ‘Capitalising on the ingenuity of British businesses and academics, the programme will explore the use of different kinds of satellites at various levels of orbit by exploiting technologies offered by companies at the cutting-edge of innovation such as OneWeb, Inmarsat and Airbus’.