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Issue 9: Growth and Expansion

The Implementation of a Public-Private Partnership for Galileo: Comparison of Galileo and Skynet 5 with Other Projects

Xavier Bertrán and Alexis Vidal

Download the full paper in PDF (360 KB)


Galileo, Europe's global navigation satellite system, represents a major public infrastructure offering numerous advantages for civilian users worldwide. The public dimension combined with the significant growth of the satellite navigation markets prompted the European Union to choose a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme for the deployment and operational phases of the Galileo program. After a short introduction on the fundamentals of PPP schemes, both Galileo and Skynet 5 programs are compared to other large scale PPP projects, mainly in the transport sector. It clearly appears that a strong cooperation between the public sector and industry is needed for PPPs in the space sector.

The present work attempts to provide a view of the Galileo PPP from an industrial perspective and to discuss the main critical issues of its implementation: risk allocation, finance, regulatory framework and other related issues. Technical and business complexity is the key driver which determines financial aspects and risk allocation. Therefore PPPs in the space sector show unique features in comparison with other sectors. If PPPs appear to be a complicated procurement scheme to their detractors, experience shows that behind the acronym lies a concrete collaborative work which demonstrates how the public sector and industry (private) can together achieve both market and policy success. The Galileo and Skynet 5 programs do - and will - face issues in many areas. No doubt they also provide positive experiences to be transferred to future space projects and the increasing popularity of PPPs as innovative financing schemes.


  • Reprinted with permission from The Institute of Navigation ( and The Proceedings of the 18th International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation, (pp. 390-399). Fairfax, VA: The Institute of Navigation.


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