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China expected to use Galileo satellite navigation system in 2008

China, 7 December 2006 – The European Union’s Galileo satellite navigation system, a rival to the reigning GPS of the United States, is expected to be operational in China in 2008.

The 30-satellite system, with a navigational fix accurate to within one meter, will provide safe, reliable and accurate navigational information for Chinese users in fields of civil aviation, railway, waterway and road transportation, according to a Sino-EU technology cooperation symposium in Nanjing, capital of east China’s Jiangsu Province.

China officially joined the project in 2004 and invested 200 million euros in a Galileo training and application research center based in Southeast University in Nanjing. The center carries out research on the satellite receiver, chips and communication system and provides scientific training for the Galileo project, said Li Jianqing, head of the technology department of the university.

The European Union (EU) and the European Space Agency kicked off the 3.5 billion-euro Galileo Project in March 2002 to develop a satellite-navigation system independent of the U.S. GPS monopoly. Unlike the military-managed GPS, Galileo will stay under civilian control, increasing the EU’s strategic independence.