Boris Johnson focuses on US satellite agency after UK loses access to EU’s space system

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OneWeb could be able to deliver the same services as Galileo. According to Mail Online, Mr Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak signed off on the bid for 20 percent in the US operator on Thursday night. OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to coronavirus disruption but has its headquarters based in London.

In 2018, Brussels warned the UK’s role in Galileo was up for negotiation which angered ministers due to the amount of money Britain had invested in the project.

Officials told the Times that the transaction for a stake in OneWeb was at “a very advanced stage”.

The Government scrapped plans for its own satellite navigation system due to the cost.

OneWeb was once thought to be the main competitor to SpaceX’s Starlink.

In November 2018, Theresa May officially pulled the plug on the UK’s defence and security participation in the system after Brexit.

It was reported the UK had invested £1.2billion in the system.

Mrs May told reporters at the G20 in Buenos Aires: “The commission decided that we would be barred from having full aspects of the Galileo programme and so it is right for us to look for alternatives because it would be wrong to put our services relying on a system on which they couldn’t be sure of.

“That would not be in our national interest.

“So what is in our national interest is to say no, you haven’t allowed us full access, so we will develop an alternative, we will look at alternative options, we are doing that work but we will work with other international partners to do so as well.”

At the time officials argued that the UK could still be involved in commercial aspects of the system.

Mrs May insisted the UK had “world-class engineers and steadfast allies around the world.

“We are not short of options.”


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The Galileo system was launched to create a high precision GPS system independent of the US or Russia.

When Sam Gyimah resigned as Universities Minister in December 2018, he cited EU wrangling over Galileo as a factor.

Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Gyimah said: “But Galileo is only a foretaste of what’s to come under the Government’s Brexit deal.

“As minister with the responsibility for space technology I have seen first-hand the EU stack the deck against us time and time again, even while the ink was drying on the transition deal.

“Galileo is a clarion call that it will be ‘EU first’, and to think otherwise – whether you are a leaver or remainer – is, at best, incredibly naive.

Mr Gyimah would later announce he was standing in the Tory leadership contest the following summer.

He withdrew from the race before the formalisation of candidates.

Having defected to the Liberal Democrats, he became the party’s spokesman for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

He stood in the Kensington constituency at the 2019 election, finishing third behind Tory Felicity Buchan and Labour’s Emma Dent Coad, Tory Claire Coutinho won his old East Surrey seat, with a slightly increased voter share.

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