Two satellite-based navigation systems for the high precision positioning of aircraft, ships, trucks. are operational today: the US's Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System (Glonass). Both are military oriented networks, each based on similar constellation of nominally 24 operational satellites.
Europe has decided to implement a satellite-based navigation system in a two-step approach. The first step will lead to a European overlay navigation system (EGNOS) using the two existing navigation satellite constellations (GPS and Glonass); this system is already contracted to industry and test operations start by 2002 . The second step (Galileo) is intended to enable Europe to become a major partner in the setting up of a civilian satellite service around 2008. This service will meet worldwide the multimodal navigation requirements and can operate either autonomously or together with other systems. Aeronautical, maritime and land mobile users will greatly benefit from the service.