EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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First Galileo navigation satellite launch. The payload on top of this rocket is GIOV-A, the first of the European Galileo navigation satellites. It was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on a Soyuz-Fregat rocket, on 28 December 2005. On 12 January 2006, it began transmitting its signals from its orbit 23,000 kilometres above the Earth. Galileo is a civilian global positioning system (GPS). A total of 30 satellites will be launched, and the full network is scheduled to operate from 2008. Galileo is intended to give Europe its own version of the US GPS system. Applications include car, train and aircraft guidance, rescue services, and road use taxation.
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