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GIOVE-A launch - satellite separates from Fregat upper stage

Europe has long recognised that it should have its own independent global satellite navigation system. To achieve this, ESA and the European Commission (EC) have joined efforts to build Galileo, an independent system under civilian control that will be guaranteed to operate at all times.

The first step is EGNOS, Europe’s first venture into satellite navigation. This will augment the two dual-use satellite navigation systems now operating, the US GPS and Russian GLONASS, and make them suitable for safety critical applications such as flying aircraft or navigating ships through narrow channels.

EGNOS is Europe’s contribution to the first stage of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and is a precursor to Galileo, the full GNSS under development in Europe.

Cooperation with Russia

With the recent revival of GLONASS, Russia has started development of its own System for Differential Corrections and Monitoring (SDCM) and proposed to consolidate it with EGNOS.

A joint ESA/Roscosmos working group has developed a number of pilot projects over the European part of Russia, aimed at demonstrating the advantages of EGNOS/SDCM. Certain interest in applying EGNOS for European transport corridors has also been shown by the Russian railways at industrial level.

Russia provided launch services for the Galileo deployment. The first two experimental satellites – GIOVE-A and GIOVE-B – were successfully launched by Russian Soyuz rockets from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in December 2005 and April 2008, respectively.

Last update: 12 May 2009

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