The European satellite navigation system, Galileo, is suffering serious delays, and continued cost over-runs. It should be operational by 2008, but has managed to place only one satellite (of 30) in orbit, and it’s a test satellite. This week, the European Commission and European States have discussed ways to jump-start the Galileo project, with a new target date for operation in 2014 (estimated). However, some reports indicate that funding for Galileo is not really secured.
I am a European, and I almost wish the Galileo project would collapse and fail. It would be a great lesson for European companies, States and leaders. The great weakness of Europe is in its diversity: diversity of governing bodies, diversity of cultures, languages and diversity of national interests. Such diversity is too loose and fragile a foundation to build anything on top of it. It’s almost a miracle how Airbus was successful. Recently we have seen how Airbus itself has suffered from the power struggle between France and Germany.
A cancellation of the Galileo project would be a good thing: it would bring shame on Europe, and hopefully it would bring a good jolt to the science and technology industry and politicians in Europe to react and do things differently (very differently) next time.
Other countries have been able to create similar systems and get them running: GPS (USA), GLONASS (USSR/Russia), Beidou (China), but Europe has managed only to waste its technical and scientific capacity.