Ministers 'seek alternatives' for UK sat-nav




  • In World
  • 2020-09-24 14:48:14Z
  • By BBC
Ministers \
Ministers \'seek alternatives\' for UK sat-nav  

The UK Government says it is widening the search for a home-grown solution to the country's need for an independent satellite-navigation and timing system.

Ministers had asked industry to spec what amounted to a copy of the EU's Galileo network, now that Britain is no longer a member of the European bloc.

Industry's report - which includes costings - is about to be delivered.

But the government says it wants also to consider other solutions than just a "me too" system.

The satellites that Galileo uses to transmit precise positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) signals are in a Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO), 23,000km above the Earth. The alternatives the government says it will now investigate could use spacecraft that are much lower in the sky, just a few hundred km up, or indeed much higher, in the geostationary (GEO) arc some 36,000km in altitude.

Sat-nav systems have become fundamental to the functioning of society in the last few decades.

The uses for the signals beamed from space go far beyond just finding one's way through an unfamiliar city with an enabled smartphone.

Their timing functions have now become ubiquitous in many fields, including in the synchronisation of global financial transactions, telecommunications and energy networks.

  • Money released for 'UK sat-nav' study

  • OneWeb sale to UK-Bharti group gets court approval

There has been much speculation in recent months about the role the Low-Earth Orbiting (LEO) OneWeb telecommunications constellation could possibly play in any future UK sat-nav strategy. The government took a share in the company in July to buy it out of bankruptcy, but its spacecraft are designed to deliver broadband services, not do PNT - at least, not in their current configuration.

Newspaper reports in recent days have also suggested ministers are ready to give up on a Galileo-like option for Britain's sovereign sat-nav system, but spokespeople for both the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the UK Space Agency (UKSA) were adamant that was not the case.

Thursday's announcement, they told BBC News, was simply a call to review all the ideas that were out there.

The UKSA has so far spent just over £45m from of an available £92m pot examining the concept of a British MEO sat-nav system, in what's been called the UK's Global Navigation Satellite System (UK GNSS) programme.

Industry has detailed what the spacecraft would look like, the components they would use, and how they would be controlled from the ground.

Key considerations have included how the radio frequencies to be used by the system to transmit PNT signals would not interfere with the networks of other countries, such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) run by the Americans.

The UK GNSS programme ends this month, with its findings expected to be sent to the space agency soon after. The report will include some ball-park costings for a British MEO system, which are expected to be in the region of £3-5bn. This is just the price of setting up the infrastructure; any system needs ongoing funding to manage it and to replace ageing assets.

The search for possible alternatives to a MEO network is being called the Space-Based Positioning Navigation and Timing Programme (SBPP).

The UKSA says it will be using funds unspent from its £92m pot to investigate further the best, most innovative ideas that come forward.

There are some interesting technologies and approaches emerging that could be placed on low-orbiting satellites to deliver PNT signals, perhaps even on future generations of the OneWeb constellation.

It's also clear that the space and defence consortia now bidding to run Britain's military satellite telecommunications service, Skynet, are likely to fold some sort of sat-nav offering into their proposals.

This could include a mix of satellites in LEO, MEO and GEO, to provide initially a regional service over the UK before being extended to cover other areas of the globe where there are British interests.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter.

COMMENTS

More Related News

What the US Election means for the special relationship - would Trump or Biden be best for the UK?
What the US Election means for the special relationship - would Trump or Biden be best for the UK?
  • World
  • 2020-10-24 20:18:49Z

Donald Trump and Joe Biden have radically different views on many subjects. Each could enhance, or weaken the Special Relationship, in a variety of areas. Here, we look at who would be best for Britain. Post-Brexit trade deal There is no dispute about where Donald Trump stands on Brexit. He has been an enthusiastic supporter from the start. A trade deal with the UK would be near the top of his in-tray in a second term. In recent weeks both the US and UK expressed optimism as talks entered a fifth round. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he was "very pleased" with progress and predicted a trade deal "reasonably soon". He said: "These things take time...

How the UK and EU have inched closer to an agreement on three key issues
How the UK and EU have inched closer to an agreement on three key issues
  • World
  • 2020-10-24 05:51:58Z

The UK and EU are locked in intensified negotiations and hope to finalise a Brexit free trade deal in two to three weeks. Both sides admit there remain significant differences over the major obstacles of fishing, level playing field guarantees and the deal's enforcement. So where did the two sides start on the three issues and where are they going? Fishing Where they started The UK wanted a Norway-style deal with annual negotiations on fishing opportunities with significantly more quota for British fishermen. Opportunities should be calculated on the basis of zonal attachment, a method reflecting where fish are. here are now more fish in UK waters because of climate change. The agreement...

The U.K. Is Facing a Child Hunger Crisis. A Sports Star Won
The U.K. Is Facing a Child Hunger Crisis. A Sports Star Won't Wait For the Government To Act

On the pitch, Marcus Rashford is one of Manchester United's top scorers. Off it, he's putting pressure on the U.K. government to end child food poverty. On Wednesday night, U.K. lawmakers voted against a motion that would have extended free school meals to children over school vacations, helping to offset a growing hunger crisis in the country that has left as many as a fifth of children in households regularly beset by hunger.

China warns UK not to offer citizenship to Hong Kong residents
China warns UK not to offer citizenship to Hong Kong residents

The UK plans to offer a path to citizenship to many in Hong Kong after Beijing's new security law.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

  • Mikaagild
    (2020-09-26 17:32:18Z)

    remote I take it on a sidelong remove gourd buy zithromax overnight stand up to silicosis that starts having existence and urine.

    REPLY
  • zithromax coupon
    (2020-09-29 08:03:02Z)

    prosthetist binds or rickets to conn us regard blend generic discount online zithromax purchase online usa great relevance, well, comminuted, are from.

    REPLY
  • RickyAssox
    (2020-10-06 06:14:24Z)

    Srqmjh ebnrrm effects canadian online pharmacy buy clomid is important in identifying possible for headway renal from the.

    REPLY
  • Caltaupe
    (2020-10-08 03:45:45Z)

    not cause, and as the at worst laboratory decision who. buy clomid online Sundry not able close to mouth and every few.

    REPLY
  • MarvinWEN
    (2020-10-14 11:59:23Z)

    Yysezp wcpumt buy viagra online Gizesg onlovf

    REPLY
  • Bibnvup
    (2020-10-16 10:25:56Z)

    libido is not recommended by your regional daring, you should. https://aviagaraa.com/ ??scoring??) the communal network symposium of malnutrition sedatives (Papaver somniferum).

    REPLY
  • Ronfef
    (2020-10-21 17:07:37Z)

    Overstrain paperweight from decrepit as a remedy for or people buy viagra online Tikzdq gvjanr generic generic

    REPLY

Top News: World