Author: FM Liew
Date: 12-28-05 04:47
"Giove A," the first satellite in the EU's Galileo satellite navigation program was launched on Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz rocket at 11:19 a.m. local time (0519 GMT).
The first test satellite of Europe's Galileo navigation system, designed to rival the reigning US-developed GPS system, was carried into space on Wednesday by a Russian rocket.
The Russian Soyuz rocket carrying the GIOVE-A satellite blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:19 a.m. local time (0519 GMT), said Vyacheslav Davidenko, spokesman for Russia's Federal Space Agency, quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency.
The 3.8-billion-euros Galileo system is a network of 30 satellites intended for civilian use and will end Europe's reliance on the U.S.-controlled GPS system. The GIOVE A is the first of two satellites designed to test the technologies of the Galileo system.
In orbit, the satellite will test atomic clocks and navigation signals, secure Galileo's frequencies in space and allow scientists to monitor how radiation affects the craft.
Discussions are underway between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia to create a cooperation mechanism whereby Galileo can benefit from the experience gained during the development and operation of Russia's global satellite navigation system, the ESA said on its web site.
Russia launched three satellites of its Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) on Sunday, bringing the number of satellites in orbit for the system to 17. GLONASS will eventually have 24 satellites by the year 2010.