Dr David Williams, Head of the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and Chairman of the European Space Agency Council (ESA) appeared before the EU Sub-Committee on Internal Market, Energy and Transport, in a one-off evidence session held on 23 May 2011. Dr Williams was accompanied by Ann Sta, Director Growth, Applications and EU Programmes, Department for Business, Information and Skills (BIS).
The committee – who also have responsibility for scrutiny of EU space policy – questioned Dr Williams on all aspects of EU space policy. In particular, the committee queried a European Commission request for an additional €1.9 billion funding for the Galileo satellite navigation programme, a project which would enable Europe to have its own constellation of navigation satellites, independent of the US GPS system. A recent Lords report criticised the management of this project.
Dr Williams answered questions about:
- The prospects for an independent EU manned space mission
- Why the Galileo project has experienced cost overruns, and whether the requested €1.9 billion extra funding is justified
- Whether the project is at risk of being overtaken by rival Chinese and Russian projects
The evidence session took place on 23 May 2011 in the House of Lords, Palace of Westminster.