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China tests European satellite positioning system

PLA Daily 2004-01-15

BEIJING, Jan. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- China tested the European global satellite navigation system EGNOS on the Yangtze River Saturday. EGNOS is the first phase of the GALILEO navigation system, which China joined last October.

It is the largest ever cooperation project between China and Europe. Saturday's test was aimed at determining the system's accuracy.

The testing lasted eight hours. The system was loaded on ferry traveling on the Yangtze River, and the computer compared its actual route with that monitored and recorded by EGNOS.

EGNOS stands for European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service. It improves the accuracy and reliability of the American GPS and Russian GLONASS global satellite navigation systems.

The system still depends on GPS, but EGNOS is seen as a good transition towards GALILEO, a fully comprehensive European global satellite radio navigation system.

At a cost of more than 3.5 billion Euros, GALILEO will consist of 30 satellites.

It won't go into operation until 2008, but then it will be able to provide precise global positioning with an error of no more than one meter, breaking the monopoly by the US military.

Unlike the GPS and GLONASS systems, the GALILEO system will be administered and controlled by civilians.

For the European Union, bringing China into GALILEO means securing a huge potential market. Once operational, the GALILEO system will be managed privately as a purely commercial venture. And with China's 100 million mobile phone users and a rapid increase in the number of vehicles, there will certainly be a market for the system.


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