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EU delays decision on LEO constellation

June 13, 2022

By Chris Forrester

The European Commission (EC) has paused making a decision on creating a rival mega-constellation of broadband satellites until later this year. The EC is looking to create a European rival to Elon Musk’s Starlink as well as other systems from Jeff Bezos (Kuiper), Canada’s Telesat (Lightspeed) and similar proposals from China and other satellite operators such as the UK/India’s OneWeb.

The Commission has reportedly started invitations to tender for the system and is in receipt of studies from a couple of European would-be ‘New Space’ consortia operators but say that Stage 1 must be in securing satellite frequencies for its proposal and these permissions are unlikely to materialise much before the end of the year.

Dominic Hayes, who heads up the Commission’s Spectrum Management (as part of DG-DEFIS directorate) told a conference that obtaining spectrum for the new system was not totally easy but he anticipated success. However, it seems that the EC is favouring an end-result with a mix of LEO, MEO and geostationary satellites each playing its part and where possible tapping into existing assets.

Europe has budgeted €6 billion for the scheme with the cash coming from the E, individual governments and industry as well as the European Space Agency.

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