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China Designates Galileo Project Firm

China Galileo Industries Ltd. has been officially appointed to handle China's participation in the European-based Galileo Project, according to an agreement signed Wednesday in Beijing by China Galileo and the National Remote Sensing Center of China.

Four other companies jointly form China Galileo: China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, China Satcom and the Chinese Academy of Space Technology.

The four companies will help promote cooperation with the European Union in commercializing the civilian use of the Galileo satellite navigation system in China. They will also build an intelligent transport system based on information provided by Galileo, according to Yin Xingliang, general manager of CASIC.

"Today's agreement is a step past the one that was reached late last year between China and the EU," said Zhang Guocheng, director of the National Remote Sensing Center, at Wednesday's signing ceremony.

China Galileo will mobilize domestic companies specializing in space, electronics and satellite technology to develop the civilian use of the Galileo system, said the company's chairman, Meng Bo.

It will also work closely with European Galileo Industries on future programs, according to Meng.

China officially joined the Galileo Project last October when it signed a technological agreement with the EU. The country will build components both for the satellites and for ground support.

Firms in some participating EU countries have already set up joint ventures with CASIC and other Chinese corporations to manufacture navigation equipment in China.

The 3.5-billion-euro (US$4.6-billion) Galileo system comprises 30 medium earth orbit satellites and will be capable of offering global positioning data with a margin of error of less than 10 meters. Designed for civil-use navigation and positioning, it will cover a wider area with more precision than the existing Global Positioning System of the US.

Galileo is expected to become operational in 2008.

(China Daily March 10, 2005)

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