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European Commission welcomes launch of first Galileo satellite
BRUSSELS (AFP) Dec 28, 2005
The European Union executive commission welcomed the successful launch of the first test satellite for the 3.8 billion euros Galileo space-directed navigation and positioning system.

"The launch of GIOVE today is the proof that Europe can deliver ambitious projects to the benefit of its citizens and companies," EU transport commissioner Jacques Barrot said in a statement.

Earlier Wednesday the European Space Agency said that the GIOVE-A satellite -- the first step in the setting up of Europe's Galileo global navigation system -- had been successfully deployed in space.

The satellite will test equipment, including an atomic clock, ahead of future launches of satellites making up the Galileo network, which is destined to give mariners, pilots, drivers and others a pinpoint-accurate navigational device.

Barrot said that "radionavigation based on Galileo will be a feature of everyday life, helping to avoid traffic jams and tracking dangerous cargos, for example."

The project, which will eventually include 30 satellites, aims to rival the reigning US GPS network and put positioning by satellite into civilian hands.

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