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08 January 2004

U.S. Global Positioning System and European Galileo System

Jan. 8: Department of State Fact Sheet

Following is a fact sheet on the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and the European Galileo System, issued January 8 by the U.S. Department of State:

(begin fact sheet)

Office of the Spokesman
January 8, 2004


U.S. Global Positioning System

-- GPS is a dual-use system, designed to support both civil and military users.

-- U.S. policy is to provide civil GPS signals worldwide free of direct user fees.

-- The United States is committed to providing uninterrupted service to civil users around the world. The United States and its allies have contingency plans for denying access to satellite navigation signals to adversaries within specific areas of conflict, but to date this has never been done. GPS civil service has never been interrupted.

-- The United States makes the civil GPS signal specifications available to the public at no charge, enabling businesses, scientific institutions, and government entities anywhere in the world to develop products, services, and research tools on an equal basis.

-- GPS currently provides positioning data at an accuracy within 10 meters or less. Advanced techniques and augmentations allow users to obtain positioning accuracy in the millimeter range.

-- New civil signals will be introduced beginning later this year or early next year. When fully operational, these added signals will increase the robustness of the civil service and improve basic accuracy within 3-5 meters. Additional upgrades are also being planned for the next generation of satellites, known as GPS III.

Additional information on GPS can be found at the following websites:,,, and

Galileo: Europe's Proposed Navigation Satellite System

-- The European Union is building its own global navigation satellite system called Galileo, currently projected to be operational in 2008.

-- Galileo is slated to be a civil system that will be operated by a commercial Galileo Concessionaire.

-- The European Union intends to launch a full constellation of satellites that will be independent from GPS. Current plans call for Galileo to offer five services including:

- An Open Service for mass market and recreational users

- A Commercial Service for specialized applications, with guaranteed service

- A Safety of Life Service providing higher reliability and additional integrity data

- A Public Regulated Service for government-approved users

- A Search and Rescue Service

-- More information can be found on the European Commission's DGTREN web site:

(end fact sheet)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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