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Hello, Galileo: European GPS sat sends first navigation data

Nilay Patel

Although Galileo, the European alternative to GPS, has been beset by endless delays and even the ignominy of having its access system hacked almost immediately, the project continues to make slow progress this week with the transmission of its first navigation message. GIOVE-A, the first of a planned 30 satellites, has been floating overhead since the beginning of last year, but had only been sending "general signals" until the test last week, when the bird sent the data needed to measure the distance between itself and a ground station in Guildford, England. That's a big step, since the system is supposed go live next year and be fully operational by 2011 or so. Here's hoping all goes well -- the American-owned GPS system keeps sending European drivers into the drink.

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