The National Remote Sensing Centre of China (NRSCC) and the EU's Galileo Joint Undertaking (GJU) held a high level meeting in Beijing yesterday and told a news conference that seven projects will be contracted to Chinese agencies by the end of next month.
"China-EU cooperation in Galileo is important and will be very successful in the future," said Rainer Grohe, GJU executive director. "Many countries are interested in the big program, but none of them is comparable with China, which has made a great contribution."
NRSCC Director Zhang Guocheng said China is investing US$244 million in Galileo, over a third of which will be spent on the country's participation in the development phase.
"By the end of the year, two satellites will be launched to send test signals for the Galileo system," he said.
Grohe said Galileo will offer reliable information to aviation, navigation and transportation sectors to help ensure people's safety. It will also provide accurate information for use by global search and rescue teams and has applications for police work and border management.
The projects going to Chinese agencies include ventures focusing on search and rescue and the fishing industry.
Galileo is a civilian satellite navigation system set up by the European Commission and the European Space Administration, to be completed in 2008 and operational the following year. The GJU was established in 2002 to manage its development, and the NRSCC is responsible for its implementation in China.
China and the EU signed an agreement in 2003 that led to the NRSCC becoming a member of the GLU in October 2004.
So far, this is China's largest scientific project with foreign countries. Other international partners will also participate in Galileo's development, including Israel.
(China Daily June 10, 2005)