Richard North, 14/04/2005  

From a report published by Space Review and relayed by Telematic Journal, it seems the EU is being a little economic with the actualité when it comes to the costs of its flagship Galileo satellite navigation programme.

Although it claims that the system will cost between €3.5 and €4 billion, putting a full thirty-satellite constellation with the proposed capabilities into orbit, it appears that the actual costs will be considerably higher.

According to Space Review, the US Department of Defence spent $234 million on GPS R&D in 2004. This year it will spend $289 million, and next year they are asking for $401 million. The US is going to be spending more than $900 million in R&D alone on a system that has been fully operational for more than a decade.

This sum is additional to the $900 million that will be spent on the procurement of the actual hardware and software. According to one published source, GPS cost between $10 and $11 billion between 1987 and 2002, with a programme which began in the early seventies.

By that measure, the EU costings seem more than a little modest.

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