Civil Servants Advise Against GNSS, UK’s Own Satellite Navigation System

11th Jun 2020
Satellite technology

Senior civil servants in the UK are skeptical about UK’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). They believe this project to be excessively pricey and now urge ministers to focus on other areas instead. GNSS requires a 5 billion pound investment, which in times of the Covid pandemic, is not only pricey but simply unaffordable, given the economic fallout we are expecting.

Global Navigation Satellites System Pros & Cons

Sir Mark Sedwill, Cabinet Office senior civil servant, is one of the main opponents of the GNSS project implementation. He is supported by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. They believe that satellite navigation is not the most pressing concern for Great Britain and its current space industry. Moreover, they believe that taxpayers cannot afford to invest anywhere in-between 3 and 5 billion pounds into something that does not bring them any tangible value.

Dr. Bleddyn Bowen, Lecturer at the University of Leicester, specializing in International Relations and Space Policy, also opposes this idea. Bowen believes that satellite navigation will not bring any great value to the UK’s civil and defense sectors. He believes that Britain can use data from already existing systems instead of implementing its own one.

Originally, the GNSS initiative came from Theresa May, former Prime Minister. Current Prime Minister Boris Johnson is one of the most active advocates for implementing the UK’s own satellite navigation system. 

Right now, it is not yet clear whether the government will drop this initiative. Yet, it seems that for satellite navigation or not, the UK will need time and money to recover from the pending economic crisis. 

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