Europe: 4 Galileo navigation satellites launched amid Brexit negotiations
New Delhi : Owing to the need of personal navigation system, Europe has launched four more Galileo satellites on Wednesday, taking the total count to 26 in the orbit. It’s a step closer to having its own map-reading system, just as the programme has become the latest flashpoint in Brexit negotiations.
The satellites was taken off from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5 rocket at 8.25 AM local time (1325 GMT), according to the European Space Agency (ESA).
Now, the Galileo system will eventually have a total of 30 satellites, weighing about 700 kg (1,543 pounds) each. They are equipped with antennae and sensors and powered by two five-square-metre (53.8 square foot) solar wings.
Europe aims to use Galileo to knock into the global market for satellite navigation services, which will worth 250 billion euros ($293 billion) by 2022. But a row over Galileo has exploded amid Brexit negotiations, with London blaming the European Union of shutting British businesses out of the project before Britain’s exit in 2019 and warning to develop its own opponent system.
Former Brexit minister David Davis last month said that shutting Britain out at this stage would delay the Galileo project by up to three years and increase the payable amount by an extra one billion euros.
Since the European Union decided to step forward with Galileo 17 years ago, the programme has suffered some hindrance, including delays on account of monetary problems, two satellites being put into the wrong orbit and arguments about whether Europe actually needs a rival system to GPS.