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[] U.S., European Negotiators Hopeful About Galileo Deal,

Space News, 3.6.2003

U.S., European Negotiators Hopeful About Galileo Deal

By: Peter B. de Selding
Space News Staff Writer

The chief U.S. and European negotiators trying to harmonize the
GPS satellite navigation system and its future European look-alike,
Galileo, expressed guarded optimism that they would be able to reach an
agreement before the end of the year.

But they also said the defense-related issue that has created the most
tension between the two sides in recent months remains unsettled, and
the involvement of the 19-nation NATO alliance has been insufficient to
resolve their differences.

The biggest sticking point is the European Union?s stated intention to
operate its Public Regulated Service (PRS) encrypted signal, which would
be used by approved government agencies only, on a piece of the radio
spectrum that the United States intends to use for its GPS
Such a signal overlay would mean that U.S. and NATO authorities would be
unable to jam Galileo?s PRS transmissions in a theater of conflict
jamming the GPS military code.

Ralph Braibanti, director of the space and advanced technology staff at
the U.S. State Department, and head of the U.S. delegation negotiating
GPS-Galileo issues with Europe, repeated U.S. assertions that a signal
overlay is "unacceptable. We have been focused on convincing the
side that that is a terrible idea," Braibanti said here May 26 during a
satellite-navigation conference organized by the International Space
University. "We have talked ourselves to death on both sides, hoping the
issue would work itself out."

Braibanti said it is possible that "by early fall we could have an
agreement in principle" on the signal-overlay problem as well as the
technical and trade issues between GPS and Galileo that the two sides
discussing. But he made no prediction that this date would be met.

Heinz Hilbrecht, director of inland transport at the European Commission
and head of the European negotiating team, declined to say whether
was willing to design its PRS service to operate frequencies that do not
overlay the GPS military code. Other European government officials say
that in technical discussions in recent months, the European team has
it would be willing to permit at least a slight separation of the PRS
GPS military-code signals, but only on condition that an overall
on GPS and Galileo is reached.

Hilbrecht suggested that at least some overlay could be permitted
undermining the ability of the United States to conduct navigation
-- jamming to prohibit the use of navigation signals by an adversary.

Hilbrecht also said the European Commission has taken steps to address
some of the security-related issues that U.S. officials had raised about
Europe?s ability to act quickly in a time of conflict. Galileo, which is
being financed and run by civilian authorities, is scheduled to be
co-owned by 25 European Union member states by the time the service is
available in 2008.

How quickly its managers could adjust the PRS signal, given Europe?s
requirement for consensus, has been a concern of U.S. negotiators.  
Hilbrecht said a Galileo Security Board will manage a 24-hour crisis
center to permit quick decisions about the use of Galileo, and
PRS, in an emergency. "We are not going to have to take four weeks to
discuss with member states whether we are in a crisis or not," Hilbrecht

The NATO alliance, while maintaining neutrality in the debate, came just
one nation short of a unanimous position late in 2002 declaring the
importance of the GPS military code to alliance operations. Eighteen
nations, including 10 of the 11 European Union NATO members, approved
position. France dissented, despite the favorable view of its NATO
delegation, said Robert G. Bell, NATO assistant secretary-general for
defense support and chairman of the NATO C3 Board.

"NATO should be able to deny access to any other satellite navigation
system during a conflict," Bell said. "It is the Galileo PRS service
has given NATO the most pause."

Bell said NATO was pleased that Galileo managers, who are moving forward
on the design of their first satellites, have agreed to leave the PRS
location open until late this year, when it will have to be set during
final design of the first Galileo satellite.

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