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EU’s Galileo moves forward with final test satellite launch

Antony Savvas

The European Union has launched the second and final test satellite for its £2.65bn rival to the US Global Positioning System (GPS) platform, reports Reuters.

The Sunday launch was part of the ongoing Galileo project, which is Europe's single biggest space programme.

The project has been plagued by funding delays, and was only finally approved when the EU committed further public money to the project when private sector firms pulled out over profitability concerns.

The EU says the project is justified on both scientific and commercial grounds, particularly as the number of personal devices that currently rely on GPS technology is spiralling.

The experimental Giove-B satellite was launched from Kazakhstan, and will test technologies such as a high-precision atomic clock and the triple-channel transmission of navigation signals.

Galileo will start delivering commercial services in 2013, the EU has said.

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