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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Galileo Figaro Magnifico


The European Union launched the first satellite in its Galileo navigation program on Wednesday, which European officials expect one day will end the continent's reliance on the U.S. Global Positioning System.

The Galileo satellite, named "Giove A," took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz rocket. Journalists monitored the liftoff through a linkup at the European Space Agency headquarters in Paris.

After the launch amid clear skies, the satellite was released into orbit and began transmitting signals, scientists said.

The $4 billion Galileo project will eventually use about 30 satellites and is expected to more than double GPS coverage, providing satellite navigation for everyone from motorists to sailors to mapmakers. Because Galileo is under civilian control, the ESA also says it can guarantee operation at almost all times, unlike the American system.

I first wrote about Galileo back in 2003, when there still was a major feud going on between the US and EU.  I'm glad that they have resolved their differences on this.  Rest assured in 2008 NTodd will get one of the bilingual radionav devices--presuming he'll have permission from Stef (hey, I've haven't bought a new GPS receiver in 5 years!).

Although the paranoid side of my brain wonders if the only reason the Pentagon is cool with Galileo now is that they've got killer satellites or space-borne jammers that will render the EU's system useless...


December 28, 2005 | Permalink


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