Chinese firms join Galileo project
China Galileo Industries Ltd has been officially entrusted to fulfil the country's role in the European-based Galileo Project, according to an agreement which was signed yesterday in Beijing.
Under the agreement, signed by China Galileo and the National Remote Sensing Centre of China, the four Chinese firms will help promote co-operation with the European Union (EU) in commercializing the civilian use of the Galileo system in China. They will also build an intelligent transport system based on accurate navigation information provided by Galileo, according to Yin Xingliang, manager of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation.
"Today's agreement is a further step to the one that was reached late last year between China and the EU," said Zhang Guocheng, director of the National Remote Sensing Centre of China, at yesterday's signing ceremony.
Following the agreement, China Galileo Industries Ltd will mobilize domestic companies specializing in space, electronics and satellite technology to get them to develop the civilian use of the Galileo satellite navigation system in China, said Meng Bo, chairman of the board of the company.
The company is also expected to conduct more collaborations with European Galileo Industries on future programmes, according to Meng.
The Galileo Project is a global satellite navigation system developed by the EU, and will affect ordinary people's lives, an EU official said in a recent interview with China Daily.
"The Galileo Project will change the life of everybody, because everyone will be able to know where they are on earth," said Jurgen Sanders, a project spokesman.
"Imagine you have an accident in your car, the system will give you a signal automatically, telling you your position, your emergency and thus it may help you avoid major problems," said Sanders.
The system will also make air traffic control more efficient. These are only parts of the system's functions, according to Sanders.
Although the satellite navigation system is still at the development phase, Sanders said these kind of functions will be "technically possible" in the near future. The system is expected to become operational in 2008.
China officially joined the development of the Galileo Project last year, with a technological agreement signed between the EU and China. The country will build components both for the satellites and for ground support. China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation is taking part in the development of the satellite system.
Firms in EU member countries are keen to co-operate with their Chinese counterparts. Some European companies have already set up joint ventures with China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation and other Chinese corporations to manufacture navigation equipment in China, according to Sanders.
"The giant and difficult Galileo Project is a symbol of EU-China co-operation, because it can bring people from the two sides together and allow them to understand each other," said Sanders. Besides this project, the EU and China will also collaborate in energy resources, including hydrogen energy development, nuclear fusion, biological technology, communications, air traffic control and other projects, he said.
(China Daily 03/10/2005 page5)