By Aman Pannu, Aerospace & Defence Research Analyst, Frost & Sullivan.
A promising and busy start to 2010 for the winners: Thales Alenia Space for System Support Services (€85 million), Arianespace for launch services (€397 million), and OHB System AG (with SSTL) for the first 14 satellites (€566 million). The forthcoming order for the remaining satellites is expected to be awarded either to OHB or EADS-Astrium GmBH. Leading space organisations are vying anxiously for the remaining three contracts that are anticipated to be awarded by mid-2010. These are for the ground mission infrastructure, the ground control infrastructure and the operations.
In an increasingly complex competitive landscape for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), Galileo carries the advantage of being the only system (in comparison to the other 'Big' four- GPS, GLONASS and Beidou (Compass)) that is primarily designed for civil (and commercial) purposes (albeit recently the European Defence Agency has pushed through with its demand for defence applications). Galileo is designed to be interoperable both with GPS and GLONASS, while providing independent navigation and positioning services. The other systems are primarily military systems although they also offer civil signals. More interoperable satellites means better coverage for service providers, who can then use this added capability to cater to new applications for end-users. However, the presence of too many GNSS participants could trigger competition, weakening the already questionable commercial feasibility of Galileo.
Galileo has not been without its challenges, and many in the past have questioned the feasibility of having a European navigation satellite System. To begin with, the shift from a Public–Private–Partnership business model was essentially fuelled by the Galileo programme's inability to generate the required returns for mitigating the risks involved in undertaking a project of this size and by the ensuing substantial delays and budget overruns. However, despite these challenges, many argue that it is important to measure the success of such a project on its long-term impact (both direct and indirect) and contribution to the economy as a whole.
The impact of the above contracts on both the space and non-space industries will be notable in the areas of technology development, innovative applications, supply chain evolution, end-user expectations and jobs. At the core of this contract is the impact on the upstream segment of the space industry. The Satellite Manufacturing Industry will benefit from a steady stream of satellite orders, both for the initial deployment for navigation constellation and for replacement satellite demand. The impact of this contract will positively drive business opportunities for suppliers along the entire supply chain (from primes to subsystem and component suppliers). The ripple effect of this across the launch sector brings promising opportunities across the entire supply chain. It is important not to overlook the indirect impact on the space industry, including that on the job market. Such contracts not only generate new opportunities within the space industry in the short-term, it will also potentially generate future skilled resources within the European space market.
The Galileo system has the capability to address some key issues for the Aerospace Industry, including the integration of European airspace, making it more efficient and reducing the carbon foot-print, better air-traffic management, and eventually, safety. On the other end of this industry, the availability of a more efficient GNSS will drive innovating applications for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles- both commercial and government.
The potential opportunities that Galileo (and other GNSS) create for the Space and the Aerospace industries are notably impressive. However, it is the opportunities in the other industries that have an unlimited potential. A brief perusal of the Galileo-Masters (the European Satellite Navigation Competition) winners summarises the impact the Galileo programme would generate across various industries. For instance, the transport industry is looking at deploying various applications for rail transport including train traffic management (reducing timing between trains- increasing train frequency), safety, track and survey passenger information services, and controlling (monitoring) cargo and wagons. Other applications are in the area of healthcare, oil and gas industry, personal tracking (including real-time rescue), smart logistics (monitoring and analysing), and even real-time gaming.
By exploring even a few of these applications, it is tempting to view the Galileo programme as the 'i-Phone' of the space industry, wherein it has presented an opportunity for creating multiple (innovative) applications across various industries. Assuming that the project henceforth meets both time and financial targets, the investment and challenges for this project will potentially translate into multiple gains for the end-users.
Aman Pannu has been working on various areas of the practice such as Space Industry research and consulting covering areas such as Satellite Manufacturing, Launch Services, Stakeholder Analysis, and Microsatellites. Aman is also involved in Defence consults with a focus on defence information systems, Aftermarket Sales Support for the Aerospace & Defence Sector.
To learn more about the European Space Industry or speak to Aman, please email Monika Kwiecinska at monika.kwiecinska[.]frost.com with the following information: your full name, company name, title, telephone number, email, address, city, and country.
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