UK Satellite Navigation System

Contains threads on equipment developed by the UK defence and aerospace industry, but not in service with the British Armed Forces.
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UK Satellite Navigation System

Post by matt00773 »

Due to difficulties with UK's exit from the EU, the UK is looking to set up its own satellite navigation system as a rival to the EU's Galileo project. Feasibility work is already underway.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43891933

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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

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and then have to pay the EU to launch it for us.
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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

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Well the whole situation seems to be rather absurd. Apparently there are security reasons relating to the UK using the Galileo constellation after Brexit - including UK armed forces. Yet the UK is expected to provide military support for EU countries as part of NATO - something which they are currently doing.

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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

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shark bait wrote:and then have to pay the EU to launch it for us.
I believe you can :) hire the service from Russia, too.
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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

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ArmChairCivvy wrote:
shark bait wrote:and then have to pay the EU to launch it for us.
I believe you can :) hire the service from Russia, too.
Or the Indians - who recently launched the Carbonite-2 satellite.

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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

Post by dmereifield »

Blooming heck - can't say I approve of the actions the EU are taking here considering their insistence that defence and security not be a bargaining chip, and that they expect the UK to keep contributing towards their collective defence and provide intel etc

However, the prospect of a UK system is exciting (if it were to happen). If we are forced down this route I'd fully expect that we charge the EU for access to the Falklands and Ascension Islands.

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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

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shark bait wrote:and then have to pay the EU to launch it for us.
ESA is not "owned" by the EU. ESA is a pan European space agency.

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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

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the rockets are French
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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

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shark bait wrote:the rockets are French
So was half of Concorde, but that doesn't make Concorde an EU plane does it? (!)

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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

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shark bait wrote:the rockets are French
Isn't the software British, though?
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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

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I've no idea, is it? It sounds like it is a mostly french rocket, launched from french territory, the UK's contributions to the launch project have been small.

Space access is a big hole in the UK's capabilities, one that needs fixing sharpish.
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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

Post by KyleG »

The proposals being for air-launched systems, it's doubtful they'll have the payload for launching GPS type satellites into MEO, but regardless they'll be a quick way to start building our launch capabilities.

http://www.spaceportcornwall.com/
http://www.prestwickaerospace.com/space-port/intro/

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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

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shark bait wrote:I've no idea, is it? It sounds like it is a mostly french rocket, launched from french territory, the UK's contributions to the launch project have been small.

Space access is a big hole in the UK's capabilities, one that needs fixing sharpish.
I seem to remember that when the first Ariane 5 blew up on launch, there was an attempt to pin the blame on "British software" not working properly, until it was pointed out that the "British software" had been written for Ariane 4 and that the Ariane 5 team had re-used that code with some mods for the totally different physics. Unfortunately they did not validate the changes adequately. I've also read that they disabled some of the exception-handling changes in the belief that the situations tested for would "never happen" :oops: . Once that was remedied, Ariane 5 became an exceptionally reliable launch vehicle.

Agree that we need to brush off the plans for Black Arrow and re-start our own launcher program
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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

Post by shark bait »

The UK launch vehicles are all aimed at the small satellite market section, which is a strong segment for UK space industry, so it makes a lot of sense to target that.

Probably of little immediate us to GPS type satellites, but there is plenty of potential for other military applications. Accelerating this development should be a priority.

Interestingly there is a company who have brushed off the plans for Black Arrow (kinda), they're developing a rocket using the same novel fuel, so they have their roots based in the Black Arrow project.
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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

Post by matt00773 »

The problem for the UK from a rocket launch perspective is the appropriate location where this could be based - assuming this is a capability the country aspires to. The US have Florida and France has Guiana which are both on the eastern side of continents, making the launch process much safer and out of the way of populated areas.

If the UK was to build a space centre with rocket launch capability, where would this be? Belize is on the eastern side but has all the Carribbean islands further to the east. Falkland Islands?

Edit: Oops, Belize has been independent since 1981!

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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

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Total myth that it needs to be near the equator.

Scotland is as good as any.
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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

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shark bait wrote:Total myth that it needs to be near the equator.

Scotland is as good as any.
It's not about being near the equator, it's about the rotation of the earth and where any debris would land in case of accident. The eastern board of continents is the best location for large rocket launches.

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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

Post by Caribbean »

shark bait wrote:The UK launch vehicles are all aimed at the small satellite market section, which is a strong segment for UK space industry, so it makes a lot of sense to target that.

Probably of little immediate us to GPS type satellites, but there is plenty of potential for other military applications. Accelerating this development should be a priority.

Interestingly there is a company who have brushed off the plans for Black Arrow (kinda), they're developing a rocket using the same novel fuel, so they have their roots based in the Black Arrow project.
Thanks for that! I must go and have a hunt for their details
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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

Post by dmereifield »

https://www.ft.com/content/bb6bae54-5c3 ... 1af256df68

This is moving awfully quickly.....

"Britain looks to Australia for help on Galileo rival

UK aims for first tenders for satellite navigation system by end of the year"

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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

dmereifield wrote:https://www.ft.com/content/bb6bae54-5c3 ... 1af256df68

This is moving awfully quickly.....

"Britain looks to Australia for help on Galileo rival

UK aims for first tenders for satellite navigation system by end of the year"
FT did not want to open (the link), but never mind. It is about the cake. And it is a brazen attempt by the Continentals to reslice the cake (and then eat it, too):
"an additional eight satellites, bringing it to completion, thanks to a contract signed today at the Paris Air and Space Show.

The contract to build and test another eight Galileo satellites was awarded to a consortium led by prime contractor OHB, with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd overseeing their navigation platforms.

This is the third such satellite signing: the first four In Orbit Validation satellites were built by a consortium led by Airbus Defence and Space, while production of the next 22 Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellites was led by OHB. "

Reads like a cricket score: 30 to 4

But certainly this "is not cricket". :problem:
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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

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matt00773 wrote:Due to difficulties with UK's exit from the EU, the UK is looking to set up its own satellite navigation system as a rival to the EU's Galileo project. Feasibility work is already underway.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43891933

With what money? Where will the UK find 10 bln. USD/euros? UK Armed Forces are scrapping the barrel, thinking will they cut this ship or that plane, will they fire 5 or 20 000 soldiers, I doubt that poor Mr Williamson could today find somewhere 5 millions of pounds for some unexpected expences, but to find 10 billions out of hat for GPS, no problem whatsoever. Not to mention non-existing space launch capability. I mean, UK even has no recconaisance satelites, but you will build alternative to Galileo? There's a reason why there are only 2-3 such systems in the world. Not to mention what will happen in case of hard Brexit with UK economy. :thumbdown:
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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

Post by Caribbean »

abc123 wrote:
matt00773 wrote:Due to difficulties with UK's exit from the EU, the UK is looking to set up its own satellite navigation system as a rival to the EU's Galileo project. Feasibility work is already underway.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43891933

With what money? Where will the UK find 10 bln. USD/euros? UK Armed Forces are scrapping the barrel, thinking will they cut this ship or that plane, will they fire 5 or 20 000 soldiers, I doubt that poor Mr Williamson could today find somewhere 5 millions of pounds for some unexpected expences, but to find 10 billions out of hat for GPS, no problem whatsoever. Not to mention non-existing space launch capability. I mean, UK even has no recconaisance satelites, but you will build alternative to Galileo? There's a reason why there are only 2-3 such systems in the world. Not to mention what will happen in case of hard Brexit with UK economy. :thumbdown:
By the sound of it, this will come out of other budgets. It's under the aegis of the UK Space Agency, which is financed by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy under an existing budget. It also sounds like a lot of the hard work has already been done, much of it in the UK. So, depending on who actually owns the IP, might be cheaper than we think. Maybe also get some of the Commonwealth countries onboard as well.

Also, of course, it could just be a bargaining ploy to make the EU think again about trying to cut the UK out of the project.
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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

Post by abc123 »

Caribbean wrote:
abc123 wrote:
matt00773 wrote:Due to difficulties with UK's exit from the EU, the UK is looking to set up its own satellite navigation system as a rival to the EU's Galileo project. Feasibility work is already underway.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43891933

With what money? Where will the UK find 10 bln. USD/euros? UK Armed Forces are scrapping the barrel, thinking will they cut this ship or that plane, will they fire 5 or 20 000 soldiers, I doubt that poor Mr Williamson could today find somewhere 5 millions of pounds for some unexpected expences, but to find 10 billions out of hat for GPS, no problem whatsoever. Not to mention non-existing space launch capability. I mean, UK even has no recconaisance satelites, but you will build alternative to Galileo? There's a reason why there are only 2-3 such systems in the world. Not to mention what will happen in case of hard Brexit with UK economy. :thumbdown:
By the sound of it, this will come out of other budgets. It's under the aegis of the UK Space Agency, which is financed by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy under an existing budget. It also sounds like a lot of the hard work has already been done, much of it in the UK. So, depending on who actually owns the IP, might be cheaper than we think. Maybe also get some of the Commonwealth countries onboard as well.

Also, of course, it could just be a bargaining ploy to make the EU think again about trying to cut the UK out of the project.
IMHO, let's first get ordinary UK AF properly funded and manned, then build recconaisance sattelites, then build space launch capability and then, if money and need are there, let's build the damn sat-nav system. Because I seriously doubt that either the US or EU will forbid Britain to use their GPS or GALILEO, and if HMG want's to support domestic space ( and other industry ) I allready said how they should do that.

And meanwhile, you have this:

https://navaltoday.com/2018/05/23/royal ... nding-gap/

Let's get this fixed first, and leave sat-nav for later...
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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

Post by Caribbean »

abc123 wrote:IMHO, let's first get ordinary UK AF properly funded and manned, then build recconaisance sattelites, then build space launch capability and then, if money and need are there, let's build the damn sat-nav system. Because I seriously doubt that either the US or EU will forbid Britain to use their GPS or GALILEO, and if HMG want's to support domestic space ( and other industry ) I allready said how they should do that.

And meanwhile, you have this:

https://navaltoday.com/2018/05/23/royal ... nding-gap/

Let's get this fixed first, and leave sat-nav for later...
Fully on-board with supporting the Space industry (and with the RAF being properly equipped), but as said, that is the responsibility of the UK Space Agency (Space, that is, not the RAF :D ). Not everything should be paid for out of the Defence Budget. Governments do many things at the same time, most of which fully deserve their funding, so if you are suggesting removing funding from other projects and ministries to prop up the MOD's mis-spending, be prepared for a bare-knuckle inter-departmental brawl.

Surveillance satellites are progressing at the moment, with a trials platform, Carbonite-2 in orbit. Skynet 6 is planned on the comms side. It would be good to have a sovereign launch capability, but there are plenty of commercial options at the moment (and a couple of UK companies involved in developing new commercial options), so it's not an immediate priority. The Indians will be very happy to provide facilities, for instance.

The US may not forbid the UK to use GPS, but there is the possibility that GPS has been compromised. On the other hand, the EU HAS apparently threatened to cut the UK out of using Galileo, so the proposal is reasonable.

However, probably just calling the EU's bluff, as I said. Hence references to suing for return of funds etc. Might be inconvenient if the UK owns some critical pieces of IP as well.
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Re: UK Satellite Navigation System

Post by abc123 »

Caribbean wrote:
abc123 wrote:IMHO, let's first get ordinary UK AF properly funded and manned, then build recconaisance sattelites, then build space launch capability and then, if money and need are there, let's build the damn sat-nav system. Because I seriously doubt that either the US or EU will forbid Britain to use their GPS or GALILEO, and if HMG want's to support domestic space ( and other industry ) I allready said how they should do that.

And meanwhile, you have this:

https://navaltoday.com/2018/05/23/royal ... nding-gap/

Let's get this fixed first, and leave sat-nav for later...
Fully on-board with supporting the Space industry (and with the RAF being properly equipped), but as said, that is the responsibility of the UK Space Agency (Space, that is, not the RAF :D ). Not everything should be paid for out of the Defence Budget. Governments do many things at the same time, most of which fully deserve their funding, so if you are suggesting removing funding from other projects and ministries to prop up the MOD's mis-spending, be prepared for a bare-knuckle inter-departmental brawl.

Surveillance satellites are progressing at the moment, with a trials platform, Carbonite-2 in orbit. Skynet 6 is planned on the comms side. It would be good to have a sovereign launch capability, but there are plenty of commercial options at the moment (and a couple of UK companies involved in developing new commercial options), so it's not an immediate priority. The Indians will be very happy to provide facilities, for instance.

The US may not forbid the UK to use GPS, but there is the possibility that GPS has been compromised. On the other hand, the EU HAS apparently threatened to cut the UK out of using Galileo, so the proposal is reasonable.

However, probably just calling the EU's bluff, as I said. Hence references to suing for return of funds etc. Might be inconvenient if the UK owns some critical pieces of IP as well.
Yes, I do know all that and I do follow British defence issues pretty closely, but that plan about sat-nav sems like reshuffling the deck chairs on damn Titanic... :thumbdown:
101 more pressing thing for the UK in general or UK AF in particular.

Plus, I don't find the whole plan as too realistic anyway.

My 2 pennies ofc.
Fortune favors brave sir, said Carrot cheerfully.
What's her position about heavily armed, well prepared and overmanned armies?
Oh, noone's ever heard of Fortune favoring them, sir.
According to General Tacticus, it's because they favor themselves…

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