Current Affairs Galileo central navigation centre to open in Prague
This week will see the official launch of the central satellite navigation centre for the Galileo global navigation system in Prague. Originally eleven countries vied for a chance to host the site, which will oversee the launch of the European answer to America’s GPS.
“It was a long process, taking more than six years. We started in 2006 and it ended in success. It is not only about prestige for the Czech Republic, although that is a factor (eleven countries also wanted GSA), but it will be important for the Czech economy and Czech industry. It is a big boost in motivation. There are large international firms that are committed in the Czech Republic, we also have Czech companies supplying parts and other firms are applying to work on Galileo. For us, it is also good, as a member, to be able to cooperate further within the European Space Agency (ESA).”
“There are 10 people: there are individuals on the information level, or people in the secretariat of the general director. It’s a good result which reflects know-how and the level of Czech education.”
What are the main areas that Galileo will serve?
“Eighty percent of applications will be in the transport sector and it is very important for intelligent traffic systems. There are a lot of companies that use data from satellite navigation, so for those reasons it could be very important for Czech industry.”
In the autumn, the government is due to decide on funds for the European Space Agency, from 200 million crowns to a reported 500 million; do you think the success of Galileo in Prague might influence that decision?
“For the Czech economy, in long-term thinking it will be necessary to get new impulses and new technology. The government supported GSA and I think they will also support the ESA program.”