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Chinese Company Bids for Galileo Operation Franchise

A Chinese state-controlled company announced in Beijing Monday it will bid for the operation franchise of the Galileo Project in China.


Meng Bo, chair of the board of China Galileo Industries (CGI) Ltd, said, "We're trying to get the operation franchise in China, which might begin in 2008."


CGI, a joint venture owned by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, China Satcom and China Academy of Space Technology, was designated by the EU as the Chinese partner on the Galileo Project.


The operation franchise plan helps ensure profits made from the money-consuming Galileo Project, costing 3.5 billion euros in research and satellite network deployment.


In July, the Galileo Joint Undertaking endorsed an operation company, newly built by Alcatel and EADS, to be the global franchiser overseeing the Galileo operation, with a franchise fee worth 3.2 billion euros.


The EU and the European Space Agency kicked off the Galileo Project in March 2002 to develop a satellite-navigation system independent of the US military global positioning system (GPS) monopoly.


The project will launch 30 navigation satellites, which will provide remote sensing data with resolution up to one meter. At present, the data resolution in the GPS civilian domain is only ten meters.


China was the first country outside Europe to join the Galileo Project, agreeing to invest a total of 200 million euros into the global consortium. About 70 million euros of the Chinese investment has been put into technologies development and the remaining 130 million euros into deployment of space and ground infrastructure.


"GPS is mainly for military use and some civilian use, while the Galileo systems will be mainly for civilian use and be responsible for customers so as not to shut off signals without our customer's consent," Meng said.


The EU estimated that by 2020, the Galileo Project will bring Europe tens of billions of euros in revenue and tens of thousands of job opportunities. Chinese experts expected revenues worth 260 billion yuan (23.6 billion euros) in Galileo systems applications by 2020.


(Xinhua News Agency September 21, 2005)

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