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EU unveils first Galileo satellite

The first of some 30 satellites of the European Union’s Galileo satellite navigation program was unveiled this week one month before it will be launched into space. The “Giove A” satellite will be launched in the second half of December by a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Galileo program will now truly begin with the launch of this first satellite. The satellite was unveiled at a brief ceremony at the European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. A second satellite named “Giove B” – ‘Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element’ – will be launched in the Spring of 2006. The first two satellites are important for testing the Galileo program from space, the European Space Agency said in a statement. Two more satellites will be launched in 2008 to complete a testing phase, which requires at least four satellites in orbit to guarantee an exact position and time anywhere on earth.