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China Officially Joins Galileo Project
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With the signing of an agreement with the European Union on October 9 in Beijing, China has officially joined Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system project. It is China's largest scientific project with other countries to date.

Under the equal partnership agreement, China will provide 200 million Euros (US$248.2 million) for the project. Total investment by all parties comes to about 3.3 billion Euros (US$4.1 billion).

Galileo is a civil-use satellite positioning and navigation system sponsored jointly by the European Commission and the European Space Agency.

The Galileo system comprises 30 medium earth orbit (MEO) satellites and will be capable of offering global positioning data with a margin of error of less than 10 meters. It will cover a wider area with more precision than the existing Global Positioning System.

It is expected to break the monopoly of the United States' GPS, and the resulting competition should be a boon to consumers.

The system is expected to be operational by 2008.

(China.org.cn, CRI October 10, 2004)

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