|"one of the EU's most megalomaniac follies"|
On Thursday there will be a live transmission outside the European Parliament in Brussels when the two first satellites of EU´s senseless Galileo GPS project are set to take off.
Twenty eight more satellites are needed for the system to become functional. The Galileo system was supposed to be fully operational already by next year, all kinds of funding issues, scandals and technical delays have pushed the date forward at least to 2019.
We all remember e.g. when Berry Smutny, CEO of the German firm making the satellites for Galileo was fired last January because he had called the whole project "a stupid idea" intended only to serve French interests, according to a leaked WikiLeaks cable.
Christopher Booker then wrote a column about this "one of the EU's most megalomaniac follies":
The cover story for Galileo, from the time of its launch in 2000, was that it was a civil project, largely to be paid for by private investors, who could then charge its users. GPS, on the other hand, is funded by US taxpayers as an openly military project, which is why its spin-off uses, such as to the owners of sat-navs, are free. It was hoped that Galileo could be paid for through a satellite-based road-charging scheme across the EU. But in 2007, after it became clear that this was not viable, the private partners pulled out, landing the entire, ever-rising bill on EU taxpayers.
The real story of Galileo, however – as a French defence minister admitted in 2004, and as I have been reporting here for years – is that it has always been pushed by France as a military system which in time of war could operate independently of the US system. It is seen as the key to France selling billions of pounds worth of satellite-guided missiles, above all to China, which in 2003 bought a 20 per cent share in Galileo.
Meanwhile the EU bureaucracy is wasting both money and time on trying to promote the madness by organising "The Galileo Drawing Competition" for children in all member countries.
Here is a report from Malta:
A national jury comprising Dr. Angelo Chetcuti, from the European Commission Representation in Malta, Ian Busuttil Naudi, presenter of the television programme ‘Gadget’, and Tony Tanti, Public Relations Officer of the Malta Society of Astronomy, will be responsible for assessing the entries and selecting the Maltese winning drawing in a pan-European competition on “Space and Aeronautics”.
Maltese children aged between 9 and 11 years are encouraged to participate in this competition, which is being organized by the European Commission. The winners, one from each EU Member State, will eventually have a Galileo Programme satellite named after them.
We are told that the first satellite is to be named after a Belgian child. It will be interesting to see, whether the satallite will be Walloon or Flemish.