Today, space technology has made it impossible for anyone to get lost. Any person, car, ship or aircraft fitted with a satellite navigation system can pinpoint their position to within 15 to 20 metres.
Satellite navigation relies on the use of a receiver calculating its position with signals sent by at least four satellites.
These eventually grew into the Global Positioning System (GPS). A similar system, called Glonass, was introduced by the military in Russia. Both of these are now available for civilian as well as military use. This is why Europe wanted to have its own guaranteed system.
Europe has now introduced a system called EGNOS, which improves the accuracy of the GPS system. ESA and the European Community are also jointly developing Europe's own civilian (non-military) navigation system. Called Galileo, it will be the first completely civilian system for global navigation .
Last update: 5 October 2011