UK developing options for satellite system to rival EU


LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May has asked experts to look into options for a British satellite navigation system to rival the European Union’s Galileo project amid a row over attempts to restrict Britain’s access to sensitive information after Brexit.

FILE PHOTO: A satellite for the Galileo satellite navigation network stands in a hangar at Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan December 15, 2005. REUTERS/Str/File Photo

Galileo, a 10 billion euro (8.8 billion pound) satellite programme being developed by the EU as a rival to the U.S. Global Positioning System, has emerged as a flashpoint in talks ahead of Britain’s exit from the bloc.

“The Prime Minister has tasked engineering and aerospace experts in the UK to develop options for a British global navigation satellite system,” May’s spokesman said on Wednesday.

“This could see Britain develop and launch its own satellite navigation system by the mid 2020s. This is a response to the EU indicating that it would not allow the UK to participate fully in Galileo.”

The European Commission has started to exclude Britain and its companies from sensitive future work on Galileo ahead of the country’s exit from the EU in a year’s time, a move which Britain has said threatens security collaboration.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; writing by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison

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