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Europe launches Galileo satellites as GPS alternative 28.08.14

WSJ: Two new satellites launched as others found to be in the wrong orbit

The European Space Agency has launched two new satellites in the Galileo network, which it hopes will rival the American Global Positioning System or GPS.

The ESA plans to have a 30-satellite system in orbit by 2017, guaranteeing real-time positioning down to a metre or less. Shortly after the launch, however, space industry experts admitted that two of the earlier Galileo satellites had been blasted into the wrong orbits and may now have to be destroyed.

The project, which has already cost £4.8 billion, is being managed by the European Commission, which has requested the launch of an inquiry “to clarify the circumstances and the potential implications for the mission.”

“More information will be provided after the preliminary analysis of the situation is concluded,” a spokesperson for the Commission told the Wall Street Journal. “We can confirm that both satellites are responding, providing the signal and safely controlled by the European Space Agency’s Operations Centre.”

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