The €200 million ($255 million) needed to cover cost overruns during development of the European Galileo satellite navigation system has been provided by participating governments just in time to meet a European Space Agency deadline.

Due to higher-than-expected costs in developing the technology, the 30-satellite constellation's €1.1 billion ESA-led in-orbit validation (IOV) phase went €400 million over budget. The IOV is to deliver two test satellites: Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element (GIOVE)-A, launched in December 2005, and GIOVE-B, to be launched in December - plus the first four operational spacecraft and ground equipment.

The European Union had already pledged €200 million towards the funding gap and ESA member states agreed to provide the remaining €200 million. Under ESA funding rules the commitment by governments was required by 24 August. States agreed at the end of last year to fund the overrun. The largest contributors are France, Germany, Italy and the UK, which are providing 16.9% each.

On 25 August UK secretary of state for trade and industry Alistair Darling announced the UK would meet its previously agreed commitment and provide €31 million for the IOV phase. France and Germany had announced their intention to match the increased funding need months before. Concerns had been raised that the UK would not fully meet its commitments to the project, which will cost €3.4 billion in total.

Source: Flight International