WikiLeak scuppers Galileo Euro satellite boss

The boss of one of the companies behind the European satellite system Galileo has been grounded by a document outed by secret-scattering outfit WikiLeaks.

Berry Smutny, was until recently chief executive of Germany's OHB Systems, one of the biggest companies behind Europe's home-grown satellite navigation programme Galileo.

Unfortunately for Smutny, he apparently became a little loose lipped in a conversation with a US diplomat and called the whole Galileo project a "stupid idea".

Said diplomat recorded the alleged comments in a cable sent back to the USA, which was subsequently handed on to WikiLeaks, and has recently been distributed to the world and its Wi-fi via the Internet and a number of international newspapers.

The offending cable was published by Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten last week and quoted the unfortunate exec as having said, "I think Galileo is a stupid idea that primarily serves French interests, and, in particular, French military interests."

Galileo is the European equivalent of the US GPS system with which we are all familiar. It is supposed to be more accurate than GPS but is currently woefully late and frighteningly over-budget.

All of which did little to quell the ire of OHB Systems board members who unanimously voted to give him the boot despite his protestations of innocence.

Smutny is also quoted as saying that the Galileo project was "doomed to failure" and would "have to undergo drastic scalebacks for survival".