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China And Europe Push Forward Galileo Cooperation

Illustration of a Galileo satellite in orbit.
Beijing (XNA) Dec 14, 2005
China's booming economy has brought increasing market opportunities to Europe, and European leaders have come to realize technological cooperation with China is reciprocal.

The year 2005 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-European ties and the relationship between the two sides is better than ever. As Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said during his recent visits to several elite European high-tech enterprises, Sino-European cooperation is based on solid political ties and broad prospects.

Highlighting the 2005 Sino-European high-tech cooperation is China's active participation into the Galileo satellite navigation system, a major European project that involves China.

As the first country outside Europe to join the Galileo Project, China is working with its European partners to explore space-based applications and unify technological standards.

In the beginning, the decision whether to enlist China into the Galileo Project sparked a debate in Europe, but strong political ties prompted European leaders to eventually approve the agreement.

Europe believes that China's prosperous economy and huge market capacity will bring profits to the project.

The EU and the European Space Agency kicked off the Galileo Project in March 2002 to develop a satellite-navigation system independent of the U.S. military global positioning system (GPS).

The project will launch 30 navigation satellites which will provide remote sensing data with resolution of up to one meter. At present, the data resolution in the GPS civilian domain is only ten meters.

The EU plans to launch Galileo's first test satellite on December 26 and the full network is due to go into service in 2008.

China has agreed to invest a total of 200 million euros in the global consortium, according to a Galileo Project pact China and EU endorsed in 2003. The two sides inked a technological cooperation contract a year later after many rounds of negotiations.

The contract, carried out in 2005, includes a fishery application system, location-based services, special ionospheric studies for the Galileo regional augmentation services, search and rescue radar transponders (SART), laser retro-reflectors and up-link stations (ULS).

The location-based services, featuring accurate navigation information provided by Galileo, are an important part of the civilian application, which the EU hopes will lead to a worldwide standard.

Special ionospheric studies can promise a normal operating condition for receivers in signal-inaccessible regions, and the SART can offer prompt rescues in navigation, mountaineering or fieldwork.

With the Galileo Project's tight schedule developing step by step, China and the EU have started to consider Galileo's application and market potential.

In September 2005, the two sides in Beijing blueprinted the Galileo Project's prospective services to their potential partner companies.

The EU estimated that by 2020, the Galileo Project will bring Europe tens of billions of euros in revenue and tens of thousands of job opportunities.

Chinese experts expected revenues worth 260 billion yuan (23.6 billion euros) in Galileo systems applications by 2020.

"In the 1980s, most foreign partners favored China's huge market when they conducted technological cooperation with China, but in the current Sino-EU Galileo Project, the EU also takes a fancy to China's competitive aerospace industry," said Zhang Guocheng, executive director of the National Remote Sensing Center of China, the EU-designated Chinese partner on the Galileo Project, and a coordination body under China's Ministry of Science and Technology.

"China's achievement in manned space missions proves that some of China's space technologies can be paralleled to those in western developed countries," said Thomas Mayer, head of business development navigation of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).

"Besides Russia, other European countries have not ever sent manned spaceships," Mayor said.

"No one can monopolize outer space, and the technological cooperation between China and Europe in space is unavoidable," said Fang Xiangming, deputy general manager of China Aviation Scientific and Industry Group.

Chinese Science and Technology Minister Xu Guanhua said China should actively participate in International projects of science and technology to fully tap global technological resources.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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Agreement Reached For Location Of Galileo Programme Facilities
Paris, France (SPX) Dec 06, 2005
The future Galileo Concessionaire has agreed the locations of the various facilities under its responsibility that are required for the successful deployment of the Galileo Programme.

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