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China joins Galileo space-based application projects

A Chinese general contractor for the European Galileo Project obtained Monday in Beijing three space-based application projects for developing the world's most advanced satellite-navigating positioning technologies.

The Galileo Joint Undertaking (GJU) endorsed the China Galileo Industries (CGI) to develop search and rescue radar transponders (SART), laser retro-reflectors and up-link stations (ULS).

Meanwhile, the Early Galileo Services in China (EGSIC) and the Galileo Olympic Games Demonstration (GOGD) are also open for public bidding.

Ma Songde, vice minister of science and technology, said at a press conference, "The three signed cooperation contracts are new landmarks of China's effective participation into the Galileo Project."

The European Union (EU) and the European Space Agency kicked off the 3.5 billion-euro Galileo Project in March 2002 to develop a satellite-navigation system independent of the U.S. military global positioning system (GPS) monopoly.

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

The scheduled cooperation will include projects concerning space and ground infrastructure construction. The first Galileo navigation satellite is expected to be launched later this year.

China was the first country outside Europe to join the Galileo Project, agreeing to invest a total of 200 million euros into the global consortium. About 70 million euros of the Chinese investment have been put into technologies development and the remaining 130 million euros into deployment of space and ground infrastructure.

The EU estimated that by 2020, the Galileo Project will bring Europe tens of billions of euros in revenues 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.


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