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GALILEO

Named after the Italian astronomer of the early 1600s, development of Europe's GALILEO Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) began in 1999. In cooperation with the European Space Agency, the European Union Transports Committee plans to begin transmission of first satellite navigation signals in 2005. A network of 30 satellites will continuously transmit high-frequency radio signals, containing time and distance data that can be picked up by any GALILEO receiver, allowing the user to pinpoint their position anywhere on Earth.

GALILEO is designed to meet the needs of a wide range of positioning and navigation applications with unparalleled precision and a guarantee of signal continuity and reliability, even in extreme latitudes. As a key component of the second phase of development of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), GALILEO is scheduled to be fully operational in 2008.

EU ministers of transport have given the green light to the development phase for GALILEO. The 30-satellite network will be operational in 2008, allowing for precise positioning for air, sea and road traffic management, urban and in-door positioning as well as off-shore applications. Global satellite navigation is an exciting technology, providing enhanced productivity and accuracy in a vast number of industries and adding a new level of enjoyment and safety to a wide range of navigation, sports and recreational activities.

For more information on Thales Group and its involvement in the GALILEO project click here.

SOURCE: Thales & Magellan

GLONASS (GLObal NAvigation Satellite System)

GLONASS is the Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). A network of 24 satellites continuously transmits high-frequency radio signals, containing time and distance data that can be picked up by any GLONASS receiver, allowing the user to pinpoint their position anywhere on Earth.

Developed and operated by the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense, the first GLONASS satellite launched in 1982. In 1996 Russia agreed to work with the International space-science community to establish a universal standard for the development of GNSS. The network required to efficiently cover the Earth was completed with the launch of the 24th GLONASS satellite in 1998.

The signals are available 24 hours a day in any weather condition, everywhere around the world.

SOURCE: Thales & Magellan

GPS (Global Positioning System)

GPS is the U.S. Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). A network of 24 satellites continuously transmits high-frequency radio signals, containing time and distance data that can be picked up by any GPS receiver, allowing the user to pinpoint their position anywhere on Earth.

Originally designated NAVSTAR (NAVigation System with Timing And Ranging), development of GPS began in 1973. In 1978, the U.S. Department of Defense launched the first GPS satellite, imposing SA (Selective Availability); the intentional degradation of GPS signals to prevent military adversaries from using the highly accurate positioning data. SA limited GPS to 100-meter accuracy for non-U.S. military users. Magellan® introduced the first handheld receiver in 1989, making GPS available and practical for many new industrial and recreational applications. The network required to efficiently cover the Earth was completed with the launch of the 24th satellite in 1994. Replacement satellites continue to be launched, each having a life span of about 10 years.

In 2000, Selective Availability was turned off by presidential order, giving all GPS receivers the potential accuracy of 15 meters without the use of signal correction. The signals are available 24 hours a day in any weather condition, everywhere around the world. When used with WAAS or EGNOS receivers, GPS accuracy can be improved to 3 meters.