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Count-down to the second launch of Galileo satellites
The countdown has started for the launch of Galileo's third and fourth
satellites —scheduled for tomorrow at 18:15 UTC from Europe's spaceport in
Kourou, French Guiana.
This second pair of EADS Astrium satellites will be put into orbit
on-board a Soyuz rocket operated by Arianespace.
The resulting initial constellation of four satellites will allow the
validation and fine-tuning of the system before a new series of 22 satellites
will be launched from 2013.
Galileo will allow users of dependant application to identify their
exact position in time and space, just like the American GPS, but with even
greater precision and reliability.
Under European civilian control, Galileo will be compatible, and — for
some of its services —interoperable with GPS, but entirely independent from it.
In 2012, testing of Galileo satellites, in combination with GPS
satellites, showed significant improvement of performance.
The launch will be closely monitored by the European Commission, as
they bear overall responsibility for the Galileo Programme, which is on track to
provide initial services in 2014.
Antonio Tajani, European Commission Vice-President, responsible for
industry and entrepreneurship said:
"The Galileo Programme is delivering on its promises.
Europe is at the forefront of space technologies.
Galileo provides a real opportunity for businesses producing
satellite-based products and applications.
European industry should be ready to seize a vast market which is there
for the taking.
Such space investments are urgently needed in the current economic
Outstanding quality of Galileo signals
Analysis of Galileo signals underlines the system's capacity to deliver
a very high level of service.
Researchers of the French Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
have analysed positioning information from the Galileo satellites already in
in May 2012 tests were carried out using the two operational Galileo
satellites launched last year as well as the two experimental Giove A and B
Tests conducted in combination with GPS satellites also showed
significantly higher positioning accuracy, thanks to Galileo.
Boost for markets for satellite navigation technologies
Europe's investment in satellite navigation technology will open the
global market for European industry.
This market is currently valued at €124 billion and expected to
increase to €250 billion by 2020.
Galileo will provide business opportunities for a wide variety of
applications in many sectors of the European economy, including electricity
grids, fleet management companies, financial transactions, shipping industry,
rescue operations and peace-keeping missions.
The overall economic impact is estimated to be around 90 billion euro
over the next 20 years (source GSA studies Market Monitoring and Forecasting).
Galileo is the European Commission's programme to develop a global
satellite navigation system under European civilian control.
It will be compatible, and, for some of its services, interoperable
with the American GPS and Glonass (Russia), but will remain independent from