Galileo, the poster-child for European space overruns, must be about done, because the EU has announced a launch date: 20 Oct.
EU industry commissioner Antonio Tajani said the launch, from the Kourou spacesport in the European enclave at the northern tip of South America, would take place at 7:00 am local time and the satellites would carry the names of Belgian and Bulgarian children.
Galileo: it’s for the children.
Intended to rival the US-built Global Positioning System (GPS) and Chinese and Russian projects, the Galileo programme’s costs have risen to 5.4 billion euros ($7.2 billion).
Scheduled to go online in 2014 — six years later than originally planned — it envisages an initial constellation of 18 satellites.
It’s one thing to miss your performance, cost, and schedule targets when you’re doing something revolutionary; it’s another when you’re doing a mission that’s already been successfully done for decades.
Space: like anything else, all it takes is time and money.