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EU Space Agency to sign Galileo contract

The European Space Agency will sign a contract next week with Galileo Industries. The contract, worth 950 million euros ($1.153 billion), will be formally signed in Berlin on January 19, less than a month after the EU launched its first Galileo satellite, named Giove-A (Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element). The Giove-A satellite will test new technologies such as on-board atomic clocks, signal generators and user receivers. The second, Giove-B satellite is to be launched in the spring. The contract that will be signed in Berlin is for the next phase of the program, which sees four other satellites, the minimum needed to ensure precision positioning over selected showcase sites, backed by network of ground stations. Representatives from industries involved in the project, such as EADS, Alcatel, Finmeccanica, and Thales are due to attend the signing ceremony, which will take place at the German Federal Ministry of Transport in Berlin.