Milestone for European navigation system

March 12, 2013
A model of the Galileo satellite hangs at the German Aerospace Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, near Wessling, Bavaria, on October 20, 2011. Galileo, Europe's rival to the US Global Positioning System (GPS), passed a milestone Tuesday when it pinpointed its first-ever ground location, the European Space Agency said.

Galileo, Europe's rival to the US Global Positioning System (GPS), passed a milestone Tuesday when it pinpointed its first-ever ground location, the European Space Agency said.

The spot—ESA's research and technology centre in Noordwijk in the Netherlands—was determined with an accuracy of between 10 and 15 metres (32 to 49 feet), using four satellites already in orbit.

"This is the first time ever that Europe has been able to determine a position on the ground using only its own independent navigation system," Galileo project manager Javier Benedicto said.

"This fundamental step confirms the works as planned," added an ESA statement.

A minimum of four satellites are required to fix a position in three dimensions—longitude, latitude and altitude.

The first two Galileo satellites were launched in October 2011, and two more last year.

The system's accuracy will improve as more infrastructure is added, said the agency.

ESA is set to launch four more Galileo satellites this year, contributing to an ultimate constellation of 27 orbiters and three spares.

Early should be available from the end of next year.

Explore further: Key flight for Europe's GPS is cleared for launch

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baudrunner
not rated yet Mar 12, 2013
They should make for interesting competition. Who can provide the greatest accuracy, the American system, or the European system, once all of its satellites are in place and their clocks properly calibrated? This should be fun.

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