Science

Galileo blow: ‘Innovative’ Britain secures ‘steal’ alternative – EU project ruled out

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Speaking before the Science and Technology Committee this week, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the UK can go it alone by developing its own system to rival the EU’s Galileo project. The satellite system is an £8billion navigation project intended to rival the US-controlled Global Positioning System (GPS). The UK was barred from the Galileo project following its departure from the EU.

After the company filed for bankruptcy in March that year, the Government, partnering with Indian company Bhakti Global, won the auction.

Mr Morris, who is the Chairman of the Parliamentary Space Committee, said: “I think [OneWeb] is doing well.

“OneWeb was bought nearly two years ago now at quite a reasonable price.

“$500 million is a mind-blowing amount of money, but for what we actually bought, and for what it’s now worth, in Governmental terms it’s an absolute steal.

“It’s one of the better decisions we’ve made.”

This comes as OneWeb launched 34 more satellites into orbit this week as it continues to boost its network.

The company will one day have 650 LEO satellites making up the network that could one day rival Galileo.

Mr Morris continued: “At the time, the decision to buy OneWeb was quite controversial, but now it isn’t controversial at all.

“If anything it’s one of our better decisions as a country. It’s looking really well”

Mr Morris went on to criticise “most governments” for not fully understanding the space industry.

He said: “America tends to invest through private enterprises like [Elon] Musk and [Jeff] Bezos and people who have put together these wonderful concepts and we’re playing catch-up.

“However, where we invent more than others do, and that’s where our prowess is.

“Most Intellectual property is done by the Brits as we’re very innovative in how to get around the problem.

“The Americans do recognise this and we work with them as well.

“That’s where our strengths are, but we need investment in the space industry and absolutely certain that in time that will come.”