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ESA paves way for Galileo project
Members agree on legal foundation

Paris (pte028/27.05.2003/13:52) - European Space Association (ESA) member negotiators have settled the legal foundation for the European satellite navigation system, as announced by the ESA .

The agreement was reached just before the meeting of responsible ministers, which is scheduled to take place today, Tuesday, in Paris. According to ESA, this paves the way for the official start of the project. If all goes as planned, the satellite navigation system will be functional by 2008 .

ESA general director Antonio Rodota spoke of an agreement in the "common interest" of the member states with respect to the strategic importance of satellite navigation. He called Galileo a programme from which all European citizens would stand to benefit, and said there was no doubt the project would be carried out.

The "Galileo Joint Undertaking" between ESA and the EU will be based on Brussels, where it will oversee various project phases and be responsible for the development and testing of individual components.

The EU member states expect Galileo will have a positive influence on the economy by creating over 140,000 jobs.

The civil system includes 30 satellites (27 functional and three on reserve) and is designed to complement the United States-based GPS system. The satellites will circle the earth in three orbits at a height of 23,616 kilometres and two control centres will monitor operations. Galileo will be used for flight, street and ocean traffic as well as in fleet management.

Submitter: pressetext.europe
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