The Expanding Role of Space within Earth Observation and Navigation

The European space industry features a highly successful track record of building and operating satellites, spanning nearly 50 years. In recent years, the strategy has evolved to make larger programmes with greater ambitions than was possible before. This trend has suffered some difficulties, 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, interest in products and funding of the development programme, but for the first time, both ESA and also the EC have setup satellite programmes made to compete around the Space consultancy and also have been looking to the private sector to co-fund them.



GMES and Galileo are the first two European space programmes where commercial considerations have already been taken into account from the outset. Both may very well be systems of systems which need the development of a business case, a feasible implementation plan using a thorough knowledge of the underlying complexity and an optimisation with the investment - finally translating technical excellence into real-world good things about serve an expanding market.

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

So, how could these programmes be approached in order to maximise their effectiveness? The Galileo and GMES programmes both produce “interim products”, made to be forwarded to specialist companies who increase the value of them to derive operational services for end-users. It really is these end-users - the true customers - that drive the complete supply chain. Without one, there is no reason for launching the satellites to start with.

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

For typically small , specialised companies, to construct an investment case needs 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 within the design and operation of space programmes, VEGA can be a company who has been closely a part of the specification and receiving the interim products, and work on Galileo and GMES has led to an ever-closer involvement with all the end-user suppliers - the so-called “downstream” market. Due to their involvement, the company believes that there are three important steps the institutional bodies should consider in order to make Galileo and GMES successful.

Firstly, there should be a sustainable demand pattern. The EC and national governments are essential users of end-products for that implementation of their policies. They are able to help to produce a framework in which a sustainable market can emerge by federating their particular demand. Whether they can consolidate the requirements, make them clear to industry, and provide a clear symbol of the volumes required as well as the amount they're prepared to pay, it will be much easier for industry to plan investment and capacity building.

Secondly, cash-flow was developed stages of your programme is vital to long-term success. The institutions provides interim funding in the form of R&D programmes, or more directly as contracts for services and products as early as possible. This might follow the instance of the US who's placing a variety of contracts for earth observation data.

Finally, since a space-based reaction to the end-users’ requirements is probably not the only approach, a specialist communication and advertising campaign should be put in place 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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