How no deal Brexit affects UK satellites and space programmes

Source: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/satellites-and-space-programmes-after-brexit?utm_source=2d241cbc-64b3-4dcb-b71e-647f92b93bd3&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=daily

How the UK’s space programmes will be affected if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

This guidance sets out how the UK’s participation in EU space programmes will be affected if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

These include:

  • the European satellite navigation programmes, Galileo and European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS)
  • the Copernicus Earth Observation space programme
  • the EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EUSST) programme

The UK’s membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) is not affected by leaving the EU as it is not an EU organisation.

Galileo

Actions for businesses, academics and researchers

Any UK businesses, academics and researchers currently contracted or expecting to carry out contracts on programmes where the UK will no longer participate, should contact the relevant contracting authority to make sure that arrangements are in place to comply with the conditions of the contract and to avoid possible penalties.

Businesses, academics and researchers in the UK and in UK overseas territories which currently hold ground infrastructure hosting contracts may wish to contact their contracting authority, such as the European Space Agency or the EU Global Navigation Satellite System Agency to verify the future position.

Areas where UK involvement can continue

For the public and most UK, EU and other satellite navigation users, there should be no noticeable impact following a no-deal Brexit. For example, devices that currently use Galileo and EGNOS, such as smart phones, will continue to be able to do so.

UK businesses and organisations will continue to be able to use the freely available ‘open’ signal to develop products and services for consumers, and will be able to continue using the open position, navigation and timing services provided by Galileo and EGNOS.

EU subsidiaries of UK businesses remain eligible to bid for future work on the EU Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) programmes.

Areas where UK involvement will end

The UK will not:

  • use Galileo (including the future Public Regulated Service (PRS)) for defence or critical national infrastructure
  • have access to the encrypted Galileo Public Regulated Service
  • be able to play any part in the development of Galileo

This means that UK-based businesses, academics and researchers will not be able to bid for future EU GNSS contracts and may face difficulty carrying out and completing existing contracts.

Background

The UK currently participates in the EU GNSS programmes Galileo and EGNOS as a member of the EU, and makes financial contributions and provides technical expertise to the programme. EU countries may access all services provided by both systems including the encrypted Galileo PRS which is expected to be available from the mid-2020s.

Companies based in the EU may also bid in open competition for contracts to build, operate and exploit both Galileo and EGNOS.

The Galileo system has begun to offer initial services worldwide but is not expected to be completed until the mid-2020s. EGNOS is already fully operational and provides services across Europe. In addition, the UK hosts ground infrastructure for both Galileo and EGNOS. Currently users in the UK may access all available Galileo and EGNOS signals and services.

Copernicus

Actions for businesses, academics and researchers

The UK will no longer be able to participate in the Copernicus programme.

UK-based businesses, academics and researchers will not be able to bid for future Copernicus contracts tendered through the EU, or through any other process using EU procurement rules, such as EUMETSAT.

UK-based Copernicus data users should consider the impact that losing access to any Copernicus data or information not sourced under the free and open data policy will have on their operations.

Areas where UK involvement can continue

Copernicus has a free and open data policy which means that the data produced by its satellites (Sentinels) and the Land, Marine, Climate Change and Atmosphere services will continue to be freely available to UK users.

The UK’s memberships of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and Mercator Ocean are unaffected, therefore those organisations will retain access to high-bandwidth data that supports the Land, Marine, Climate Change and Atmosphere services.

UK organisations will continue to be able to bid for Copernicus contracts tendered through ECMWF and Mercator Ocean because they operate procurement processes that differ from EU procurement rules.

Subsidiaries of UK organisations that are based in the EU, and EU-based researchers using Copernicus data and services will be unaffected if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

The UK will continue to remain a member of ESA, and as such UK organisations will continue to be able to bid for contracts tendered as part of the Copernicus Space Component Programme 4 or under other programmes such as Earth Observation Envelope Programme 5.

Areas where UK involvement will end

UK-based businesses, academics and researchers will not be able to bid for future Copernicus contracts tendered through the EU, or through any other process using EU procurement rules, such as EUMETSAT. We expect that UK-based entities holding Copernicus contracts with delivery dates that run past the date of Brexit will continue to be able to deliver that work. We would encourage UK-based entities holding those contracts to confirm arrangements with their relevant contracting authority if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

Some UK users will lose the right to high-bandwidth access to the standard data from Copernicus Sentinels. The UK will lose access to data sourced by Copernicus from Contributing Missions.

Background

The UK currently participates in the Copernicus Earth Observation space programme as a member of the EU, as well as through our membership of the ESA and EUMETSAT. The UK contributes to Copernicus financially and UK industry and academia are involved in the delivery and operation of the programme.

UK companies, researchers and public sector organisations use Copernicus data for a wide range of applications. Companies and researchers based in the EU currently also bid in open competition for contracts to design, build and operate both the physical infrastructure of the programme and its services.

The UK is fully involved in the decision-making of the programme, for example as a member of the main governance Committee. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) leads for the UK government on Copernicus policy. The UK Space Agency leads on policy relating to satellites and physical infrastructure.

Space surveillance and tracking

Actions for businesses, academics and researchers

A small number of UK providers may still have programme delivery contracts in place when the UK leaves the EU.

Any companies currently involved in the programme should contact their relevant contracting authority if they have concerns about their contractual status.

Any EU organisations currently or expecting to carry out contracts which involve partnership arrangements with UK businesses, academics and researchers may wish to contact the relevant contracting authority to make sure that arrangements are in place to ensure continued partnership complies with the conditions of the contract after Brexit and to avoid possible penalties.

Areas where UK involvement will end

The UK will not be eligible to participate in the EU Space Surveillance and Tracking programme if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

The UK will continue to receive space, surveillance and tracking data from the US, so there will no impact on space safety.

UK organisations will not be able to contribute to providing services to the EU Space Surveillance and Tracking, to participate in the scientific and technical groups to develop the programme further or be able to receive grant funding to pay for UK involvement.

More information

Businesses, academics and researchers with existing contracts relating to these programmes, or who use data and services, may contact the UK Space Agency info@ukspaceagency.gov.uk with any questions or concerns.

Organisations who get Horizon 2020 research programme funding, or who are bidding for funding, can find more information in the Horizon 2020 guidance.

Published 9 August 2019