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China's Participation into 'Galileo Project' Benefits Ordinary People

Officials and experts from EU Galileo Joint Undertaking recently paid a special visit to Beijing to consult with Chinese officials on technical details for the Galileo Project. Last week, they had a two and a half-day negotiation with officials from National Remote Sensing Center of China under Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology at China-Europe GNSS Technology Training and Cooperation Center.

As the biggest ever sci-tech cooperation between China and the EU, the Galileo Project has always been attracting both domestic and international attention. This negotiation was the first on technical issues to implement the political agreement while several rounds of informal talks have been held between Beijing and Brussels.


The Galileo Project aims at putting up a wireless satellite navigation system to cover every corner of the world by 2008. The Galileo System, as it is called, will be the world's first global satellite positioning system for civil use. It comprises of 30 medium earth orbit (MEO) satellites and is able to offer global positioning service within an error of less than 10 meters for users. The Galileo Project, which has been kicked off, will break the monopoly of the US' GPS (Global Positioning System) and as a result the competition will bring boons to consumers.


The total investment in the Galileo Project comes to about 3.3b euros. Under the principle that China and 15 EU nations are equal participants of the Project, China will contribute about 200m euros. " The two sides have agreed that China puts 5m euros in place as the initial installment. Cash payment and payment in kind will both be possible for other expenses in the construction."


It is quite beneficial for China to take up as much construction items as possible in the Galileo Project. For by doing so, part of the capital can be recovered. And what's more important is that the construction projects will offer an opportunity for China to upgrade its aerospace technology.


As the Galileo Project has been launched long before China's participation, it is a great challenge for China to seize heavy tasks like the production and launch of satellites in the Galileo System. But China is still making its efforts.


At present, participants from the Chinese side will soon be in place. The Joint Undertaking is an organization responsible for the Galileo Project in which the Chinese side will have members to play their roles and they will enjoy 20 percent of the rights in voting. Chinese technicians will go to work in Brussels as staff members of the Joint Undertaking. Besides, as corporate operation is the way for running the Galileo Project, preparation for the incorporation of a satellite navigation company is now underway in China.


The public will also benefit from the Galileo Project. When the Galileo System is fully put into operation in 2008, it can be used very extensively and work more precisely. By then even the ordinary people will benefit from it in their daily lives. For example, a wristwatch with the global positioning system can help take an old folk missing his way home or spot and rescue trapped life in an open country.


(People's Daily February 25, 2004)





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