Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Galileo to Give GPS a Run for its Money

The British-built GIOVE-A telecommunications satellite was successfully launched and deployed today, and is now fully operational.
This is the first of a 30-satellite system called Galileo, the ESA's answer to the Global Positioning System used by the United States, considered the best locator technology available. It's been a joint program, undertaken by several EU countries, which will offer a positioning system that will reach into the high northern latitudes and be interoperable with GPS and Glonass, which is used by the Russians.

The network is expected to be completed by 2010 at a cost of around $2.2 billion. US concerns it might become useful to terrorists were not enough to force the project off track, and now the new civilian operated system will end Europe's reliance on the US military-controlled GPS system, while providing a much higher degree of accuracy to users.

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