European GPS rival moves a step closer

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A majority of European Union countries have finally approved key operational proposals for the Galileo satellite navigation project, designed to rival the American Global Positioning System (GPS).

The much-delayed system, which will use over $4 billion of unspent farm subsidies, has been criticised by some as an expensive European vanity project.

The Galileo system will be made up of 30 satellites beaming navigation signals to ground control centres in the EU.

Spain had been blocking a deal on how the system would be run, demanding to host one of the centres, but a compromise has now been reached allowing the multi-billion dollar project to move ahead, but it is already running five years behind schedule.

It is meant to be up and running by 2013 but analysts say by then the American GPS may have already established an unassailable grip on the satellite navigation industry. © 2007 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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