The Growing Role of Space within Navigation and Earth Observation

The European space industry includes a highly successful track record of building and operating satellites, spanning nearly 50 years. In recent years, the process has evolved to create larger programmes with greater ambitions than was possible before. This trend has suffered some difficulties, so just why are collaborations like Galileo and GMES proving difficult?

Looking under the covers of both programmes reveals that similar challenges have arisen mainly from complexity, need for products and funding from the development programme, as well as the first time, both ESA and also the EC have set up satellite programmes made to compete about the Space consultancy and also have been looking for the private sector to co-fund them.



GMES and Galileo are the first two European space programmes where commercial considerations happen to be taken into account in the outset. Both can be viewed systems of systems that require the development of a company case, a feasible implementation plan using a thorough comprehension of the underlying complexity and an optimisation of the investment - finally translating technical excellence into real-world advantages to serve an increasing market.

Both focus on providing Europe with independent usage of information, and so are important assets for global co-operation and partnership - either within a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) or within the frame of a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). Both are engines for European innovation and economic growth and need to be successful to assure the long-term success in European industrial, economic and social endeavour.

So, how could these programmes be approached in order to maximise their effectiveness? The Galileo and GMES programmes both produce “interim products”, built to be given to specialist companies who improve the value of them to derive operational services for end-users. It's these end-users - the actual customers - that drive the whole supply chain. Without them, there is no part of launching the satellites to start with.

These specialist companies typically have their own product strategy and good knowledge of the commercial and competitive landscape around them. They should establish value of being involved with such a programme and must be confident with the technical and commercial path in front of them. To get this done they have generally planned their developments through road maps, which show how the proposed new services and services squeeze into their own corporate plans and to meet the evolving demands of your wider market.

For typically small , specialised companies, to build an investment case wants a good look at the market, confidence in sustainable demand and where time-to-market is relatively long, an origin of interim funding to aid their activity. Having enjoyed a 30-year heritage in the design and operation of space programmes, VEGA can be a company that has been closely involved with the specification and receiving the interim products, and work on Galileo and GMES has triggered an ever-closer involvement using the end-user suppliers - the so-called “downstream” market. As a result of their involvement, the business believes that there are three important steps how the institutional bodies should think about in order to make Galileo and GMES successful.

Firstly, there should be a sustainable demand pattern. The EC and national governments are very important users of end-products for that implementation of these policies. They can help to develop a framework where a sustainable market can emerge by federating their own demand. Whether they can consolidate their requirements, make them clear to industry, and provide a clear symbol of the volumes required and the amount they're prepared to pay, it'll be much easier for industry to plan investment and capacity building.

Secondly, cash-flow noisy . stages of your programme is vital to long-term success. The institutions can offer interim funding as R&D programmes, or more directly by means of contracts for services as early as possible. This might follow the example of the US who's placing a quantity of contracts for earth observation data.

Finally, since a space-based reply to the end-users’ requirements is probably not the only approach, a professional communication and advertising campaign should be set up in order to build awareness and acceptance through managed brand identities for Europe’s space programmes. This campaign would target both application developers and end-users.

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