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Wed, 14 Nov 2007

SSTL responds to Galileo report

Following publication of the report “Galileo: Recent Developments” by the House of Commons Transport Committee (Note 1) SSTL would like to make the following observations:

1.It is right for the public sector to request up-to-date information on the costs and benefits of the Galileo system. The previous cost-benefit analysis published several years ago by independent consultants PriceWaterhouseCoopers indicated an excellent ratio of benefit to cost and SSTL believe that this should still be the case.

2.It must be acknowledged that the deployment of Galileo has taken longer than anticipated and there is a danger that an undesirable side-effect of such a review could be further delays to the project.

SSTL supports the view that the Galileo system be implemented in a phased approach. The first phase should reflect the deployment of 12 satellites offering open signals for the mass market. Subsequent phases should add those additional services which are shown to be cost effective.

The deployment of an “early” system consisting of 12 satellites broadcasting open signals working in tandem with the US GPS system, would bring tangible benefits to European transport users and would help establish Galileo in the marketplace. The benefits of an early system would include better navigation accuracy and much better navigation performance in areas without a good view of the sky such as city centres and valleys in hilly regions.

3. SSTL could help to deploy the first phase quickly and at low cost. The company’s experience with the GIOVE-A satellite has demonstrated that satellites can be built in approximately two years at relatively low cost. GIOVE-A was completed on time and within budget, was launched at the end of 2005 and has been generating Galileo signals from space since early in 2006. SSTL estimates the cost of building and launching a 12 satellite constellation to be approximately €600M. This compares favourably with other costs being floated and reflected in the committee’s report. In other words, a useful system could be put in place for a small fraction of the total cost for deployment mentioned in the report.

4. The report is correct to highlight the substantial operating costs. It is self evident that by deploying a more simple system, operational costs can be reduced dramatically.

5. Competition is fundamental if the public sector is to achieve value for money over the lifetime of the system. SSTL agrees with conclusion 11 of the report that competition is vital at all contract levels.

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) develops innovative technologies to change the economics of space, delivering cost effective satellite missions within rapid timescales. The Company is a world leader in the design, manufacture and operation of high performance small satellites with experience gained over more than 25 years and 27 missions launched.

SSTL employs 250 staff working on LEO, GEO and interplanetary missions, turnkey satellite platforms and space-proven satellite subsystems and optical systems. The Company also provides know-how transfer and training programmes and consultancy services, and performs studies for ESA, NASA and commercial customers related to platform design, mission analysis and planning.

Based in Guildford, UK, SSTL is owned by the University of Surrey (85%), SSTL staff (5%), and SpaceX of the USA (10%).

www.sstl.co.uk

Editors Notes

1. Full text of the transport committee report is located at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmtran/53/53.pdf

2. Under a €28M contract signed in the second half of 2003, SSTL has already supplied the European Space Agency (ESA) with the very first Galileo satellite, GIOVE-A. GIOVE-A’s primary mission was to broadcast Galileo signals from space so that Europe could claim the frequencies filed for Galileo with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Under the rapidly-paced ESA contract, the satellite was designed, built, tested and launched before the end of 2005 – on-time and on-budget. In January 2006, the first Galileo signals were transmitted from the satellite and in March 2006 ESA was able to confirm that it had brought the Galileo-related frequency filings into use, three months ahead of the official deadline. In 2007 GIOVE-A started to broadcast real navigation messages, containing the information needed by user receivers to calculate their position allowing research centres and receiver manufacturers to extend testing of their Galileo receiving equipment.

3. Following on from the success of GIOVE-A, in March 2007 ESA placed a contract with SSTL for a second satellite named GIOVE-A2. This additional satellite will help maintain the critical ITU frequency filing secured by its predecessor for a further 27 months, will facilitate further development of ground equipment and may demonstrate additional features of the Galileo System.

4. Galileo is a joint initiative between ESA and the European Commission. When fully deployed in the early years of the next decade, it will be the first non-military positioning system to offer global coverage.

This press release can be downloaded from the SSTL online press room :

http://www.ballard.co.uk/press_releases/company_releases.aspx?company=sstl

SSTL Contact:

Audrey Nice, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited

Tel: +44 (0)1483 804200 Email: a.nice(AT)sstl.co.uk

Press Contact:

Robin Wolstenholme, Ballard Communications Management (BCM)

Tel: +44 (0)1306 882288 Email: r.wolstenholme(AT)ballard.co.uk