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Europe moves forward with plans for GPS competitor
Posted: Thu, Mar 22, 2001, 5:13 PM ET (2213 GMT)
GalileoSat illustration The European Commission announced Thursday that it had lined up private financial support to continue development of a new satellite navigation system. The Commission said that it had obtained commitments from an unidentified set of companies to provide 200 million euros (US$177.5 million) to help begin the development phase of the Galileo satellite navigation system. Galileo is a joint effort of the European Union and European Space Agency, along with private companies, to develop a system similar to the American Global Positioning System (GPS), but under civilian control, unlike the military-run GPS. Galileo will use 30 spacecraft launched between 2004 and 2008 at a total cost of 3.2 billion euros (US$2.85 billion). European Commission officials hope the private funding for the development work will make it easier to gain full funding approval from EU member nations — some of whom have been skeptical about the project and its estimated cost, according to Reuters — during a summit meeting starting Friday in Stockholm.
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