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ExoLance
EU transport ministers approve Galileo deal
Posted: Sat, Dec 1, 2007, 5:44 AM ET (1044 GMT)
GIOVE-A satellite illustration (ESA) European transport ministers gave the final approval on Friday for a new plan for financing the Galileo satellite navigation system, after overcoming a last-minute objection from Spain. The ministers approved the plan Friday after EU budget ministers reached an agreement a week earlier to allow the use of surplus agricultural subsidies to fund most of the project, a move necessitated after an earlier proposal to have a public-private partnership fund the system fell through. Late Thursday Spain objected to the plan because that country would not get a Galileo ground station; only two were planned, in Germany in Italy. Spain reversed its opposition to the plan on Friday when the EU agreed to allow Spin to upgrade a planned "safety of life" ground center to a full-fledged satellite control center. Galileo is a satellite navigation system designed to prevent the EU from being reliant on the similar American GPS system. Once planned to begin service in 2008, Galileo is now scheduled to be operational by 2013.
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