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Sino-EU Galileo Sat-Nav Program expands
By Cui Ning (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-06-10 00:28

China and the European Union (EU)'s satellite navigation co-operation, the Galileo Programme, has announced seven new projects.

An imaginary space image shows the disposition of the satellites under Galileo Programme. [file] 
Including ventures focussing on applying the technology to search and rescue and the fishing industry, the seven schemes will be contracted to Chinese entities by the end of next month, the National Remote Sensing Centre of China (NRSCC) and the Galileo Joint Undertaking (GJU) announced at a news conference in Beijing yesterday.

NRSCC and GJU are the respective organizations undertaking the Galileo Programmes from China and the EU.

NRSCC director Zhang Guocheng said China will invest 200 million euros (US$244 million) in the Galileo Programme.

"By the end of the year, two satellites will be launched to send testing signals for the Galileo system," he said.

Rainer Grohe, GJU's executive director, said he believes the partnership is going well.

"China-EU co-operation in the Galileo Programme is important and will be very successful in the future...," he said. "Many countries are interested in the big programme, but none of them is comparable with China which has made a great contribution to the programme.

"We look forward to future co-operation between EU and China in this programme."

Grohe said the realization of the Galileo Programme relies on three steps: development, deployment and operation. At the moment the programme is in the development phase.

The Galileo Programme is a civilian satellite navigation system developed by the European Commission and the European Space Administration.

Developers hope the system will be up and running by 2009 after completion in 2008. It is aimed at building an independent civil global satellite navigation system based in Europe.

Grohe said the Galileo system will offer reliable information to aviation, navigation and transportation sectors to help ensure the safety of people's lives. It will also provide accurate information for use by global search and rescue teams and has applications for police work and border management.

China joined the Galileo Programme in October 2003, with the signing of the Galileo Programme Co-operation Agreement on Civil Global Satellite Navigation.

So far, this is China's largest scientific project with foreign countries. Other international partners will bring participate in Galileo's development. Israel has already signed an agreement.

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