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Galileo satellite sends first signals
Posted: Tue, Jan 17, 2006, 7:40 AM ET (1240 GMT)
GIOVE-A satellite illustration (ESA) The first experimental satellite in the European Galileo satellite navigation system has transmitted its first signals, a key milestone for the project. ESA officials said that the Giove-A satellite transmitted its first navigation signals on January 12 as part of the commissioning of the satellite's payload. The transmission is critical because Europe is required to "put into use" the frequencies reserved for the system by this year or risk losing its frequency reservation, under the regulations of the International Telecommunication Union. Giove-A's primary mission is to secure those frequencies, as well as measure the radiation environment of the medium Earth orbits the Galileo system and perform other technology tests. A second experimental satellite, Giove-B, is scheduled for launch later this year; the full Galileo system of 30 satellites will be launched towards the end of the decade. ESA will sign a contract later this week with prime contractor Galileo Industries for the manufacture of the operational satellites.
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