Jan 07. Galileo: European GNSS Supervisory Authority takes over activities from the Galileo Joint Undertaking. The European GNSS Supervisory Authority (GSA), a new Community Agency, officially took over responsibility from the former Galileo Joint Undertaking (GJU) on 1 January 2007. The Agency’s first order of business: to establish a 20-year multi-billion Euro public-private partnership contract with a consortium whose task will be to implement the deployment and operations of the full Galileo system and commercialise its services.
Galileo, the EU-led global satellite navigation system, is currently in the development phase, aiming at the in-orbit validation of the system design and technology. The development phase is co-funded by the European Union and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The GSA will play a key role for the success of the Galileo system as it will:
Manage the European satellite navigation programmes, control the use of the funds, and manage the related R&D activities.
. Be the licensing authority vis-a-vis the private concession holder responsible for implementing and managing the Galileo deployment and operation phases and ensure that the concession holder complies with the contract;
. Be responsible for matters related to the right to use the frequencies necessary for the operation of the systems, for the certification of their components, and for their safety and security;
. Be the owner of all the tangible and intangible assets created or developed under the Galileo and EGNOS programmes.
Galileo is the largest industrial project ever organised on a European scale, the first European public-private partnership and the first infrastructure owned by the EU. The Galileo system will allow users to pinpoint their location at any time with a high degree of accuracy, and will ensure Europe’s global competitiveness, as well as independence, in satellite navigation products and services. (Source: ASD Network)
21 Jan 07. EADS faces losing a potential $100bn deal to upgrade the US Air Force’s fleet of refuelling aircraft after Northrop Grumman, its US partner, threatened to abandon its bid. A tanker deal, earmarked as the air force’s number one priority, is crucial for the Franco-German aerospace group as it looks to build its business in the lucrative US defence market. But executives at Northrop, the defence company leading the EADS bid team, say they will pull out of the competition unless the air force makes a last-minute amendment to the bidding criteria, which they argue favours a rival bid from Boeing. The Northrop/EADS tanker is based on the Airbus A330, which is bigger than the rival Boeing 767 offering and able to perform multiple functions. However, the Airbus aircraft are more expensive individually and the air force has indicated that it will make its decision based primarily on cost. Northrop has argued that a price-based contest does not take into account the extra capacity of its larger aircraft and the fact they could carry more fuel, cargo and troops. “If the capabilities-to-cost evaluation metrics aren’t included in the final proposal,” Northrop said on Friday, “we will not bid.” An executive on the Northrop/EADS team said the consortium would not be used merely as a “stalking horse” to provide competition for Boeing. The air force has countered that it will be able to afford fewer aircraft if it buys the A330 and that they will not be appropriate for some smaller foreign airfields. The air force was hoping to send the “request for proposals” to the bidders this week although industry executives speculated that this could be pushed back until the end of the month. Even if Northrop decides to drop its bid, leaving Boeing as sole bidder, the political wrangling over the contract could drag on for months. The tanker contest has been mired in controversy from the outset. Boeing was chosen originally to supply a fleet of 100 new tankers in 2001 but the contract was cancelled after a pro