Galileo: strategic, scientific and technical stakes
The original version of this document was produced by France's Académie de Marine, Bureau des Longitudes and Académie Nationale de l'Air et de l'Espace.
It aims to provide an overview of the issues at stake for the Galileo project.
The scale and diversity of these issues, which concern the workings of civil society and its defence, prompted the three bodies to join in this common undertaking.
The three bodies set up a working group and appointed representatives, drawing on the services of outside specialists in certain fields. The aim of the present report is not to intervene in the process of approving and implementing the project. Rather it seeks to give the reader a grasp of why it is so important for Europe to control this new technology and, conversely how dependent Europe would be if it failed to rise to the challenge.
Building a space-time reference frame in and around the Earth, using satellites, is not an everyday undertaking. It heralds a major, irreversible change in the technology on which the operation of our society is based. From a historical point of view it is the ultimate solution to a problem that has faced mankind since the dawn of civilisation namely the need to determine our own position in time and space and that of the many devices we make and use.
It seemed important to state the issues clearly and ensure their importance is fully appreciated.