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First Galileo satellite launched from Kazakhstan

The EU’s first satellite of the Galileo navigation program has been launched from Kazakhstan. The 600 kg British built spacecraft, named “Giove A,” took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on a Soyuz rocket early Wednesday morning (28 December 2005). The satellite is part of Galileo, the €3.4 billion system from which the EU is aiming to deploy a total of 30 satellites by 2010. The network will provide access to precise timing and location services delivered from space to the bloc’s member states. The Galileo project aims to revolutionise industries including transport and will be used in maritime, rail and other navigation systems. According to reorts it will help the EU to set up a new air-traffic control system, allowing pilots to fly their own routes and altitudes. Giove A will test technologies needed for the other components of the project, like the in-orbit performance of two atomic clocks or radio frequencies assigned to Galileo within the International Telecommunications Union. Galileo is a joint project between the EU and the ESA.