EU's Galileo Navigation System Goes Into Orbit

By Ashok Bindra October 21, 2011

After years of delay, the European Union (EU) finally launched its first navigation system into orbit using a Russian rocket. The Associate Press reported on Friday that a Russian rocket launched the first two satellites of the EU's Galileo navigation system. The Galileo navigation system is viewed as a competitor to popular American GPS network.

According to AP, the launch of the Soyuz from French Guiana, on the northern coast of South America, marks the first voyage of the Russian rocket outside the former Soviet Union. The AP report indicates that both European and Russian authorities were present to cheer the liftoff.

The AP report quoted Laurent Wauquiez, France's higher education minister and former deputy minister for European affairs, as saying, “It is a double-page spread in spatial history, European and Russian. It is without doubt one of the most beautiful stories of cooperation... This gives us strength and an extraordinary competitive advantage in the spatial domain.”

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov commented that it is the first time that two teams work together on the launch of the Soyuz. As per the report, The rocket is expected to place into orbit the Galileo IOV-1 PFM and FM2 satellites during a nearly four-hour mission. “The two satellites will be released in opposite directions,” wrote AP writer Raf Casert.

Likewise, in a brief statement to officials, Jean-Yves Le Gall, chairman and CEO of Arianespace, the commercial arm of the European Space Agency, said “The first part of this mission went well,” wrote Casert.

As per the AP report, the launch was postponed for 24 hours because of a leaky valve that kept a Russian Soyuz rocket grounded at the launch site in French Guiana.

Although, the Galileo navigation system has become a symbol of EU infighting, inefficiency and delay, officials are hoping it will kick off a trans-Atlantic competition with the American GPS network, Casert wrote.

However, the AP report indicates that there are some more years to wait after the launch of first two satellites before it becomes operational in 2014 as free consumer navigation service. “More specialized services will be rolled out until 2020, when it should be fully operational,” wrote Casert.



Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

UAV Growth, Challenges, and the Future

By: Frank Segarra    5/4/2018

Despite the growing opportunities in the drone industry, challenges still exist that may hamper or prevent the level of growth forecasted by industry …

Read More

Mitel Going Private, Managed Services Giant with Rackspace on the Horizon?

By: Erik Linask    4/26/2018

Mitel is once again in the news. The 45-year-old communications provider has been on the buying end of multiple transactions in its quest to transform…

Read More

Four Reasons to Reach for the Cloud after World Earth Day

By: Special Guest    4/23/2018

The World Earth Day agenda offers a chance to flip the rationale for cloud adoption and highlight environmental benefits that the technology brings pr…

Read More

Bloomberg BETA: Models Are Key to Machine Intelligence

By: Paula Bernier    4/19/2018

James Cham, partner at seed fund Bloomberg BETA, was at Cisco Collaboration Summit today talking about the importance of models to the future of machi…

Read More