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article imageGalileo's first Soyuz launch, gives EU independent nav system

By Sara Star     Oct 24, 2011 in Technology
Kourou - The European Union has launched its own global navigational satellites, which now joins the American GPS, and the Russian GLONASS already in orbit.
According to UPI, the Russian Soyuz rocket lifted off on Friday morning in South America, after being delayed by one day due to a fuel leak. Moscow Times reports that 400 Russian people were present at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana to witness the first launch in history of a Soyuz rocket outside of the former Soviet Union. The European Space Agency intends to have 30 in orbit eventually, with the goal of two launches per year, allowing them independence from the USA.
“Soyuz is by far the most reliable launch vehicle in the world, and I must say we are glad to have Soyuz here in French Guyana,” Director General of the European Space Agency Jean-Jacques Dordain.
RT points out that the location is ideal as the earth rotates faster at the equator, giving an ideal catapult effect on take-off and almost doubling the payload the rocket can lift.
Galileo is expected to provide a high-precision positioning system for Europe, with an accuracy within 40 inches, independent of the Russian GLONASS satellite navigation system and the U.S. Global Positioning System. At an initial cost of $7.4 billion, it is expected to cost $1.4 billion a year to maintain.
More about Soyuz, Galileo, Eu, Europe, Sattelite
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