[Editor’s note: The article below is translated from a news report published on Xinhuanet.com, a website of the Chinese government official news agency, on July 28, 2005. China has been very eager to develop satellite GPS technology.]
For the First Time China Participates in Galileo Satellite Program
On July 28 in Beijing, the Chinese general contractor for the European Galileo program signed three contracts with Galileo Joint Undertaking. China is the first non-E.U. country that signed a contract that deals specifically with applications.
The Galileo Industry, with 3.5 billion euro investment, is an independent global satellite navigation system for civilian usage developed by European Union. The United States controls the use of the current Global Positioning System (GPS) developed by the United States. The deployment of Galileo’s 30 navigation satellites and the ground devices will be completed by 2008. The system’s ground target precision is one meter, while the non-military precision of GPS is 10 meters.
Vice Minister Ma Songde of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology said during the signing ceremony: "The signing of the three contracts by China and European Union marked a substantial step of Chinese companies and the Galileo Industry. In the near future, China and European Union will sign more comprehensive, multi-level and advanced cooperation contracts." Mr. Ma is in charge of new technology R&D in the Ministry.
According to news sources, the contracts in the near future will include construction of space and ground devices for the Galileo system. Galileo’s first navigation satellite will be launched later this year.
Galileo Joint Undertaking Executive Director Rainer Grohe told the reporters, "Our cooperation will generate mutual benefits for each other."
Under these newly signed contracts, China will participate in development of applications in fishery, position-based service standardization, and restoration of positioning signal in the ionosphere in global satellite navigation system.
China National Remote Sensing Center Deputy Director Zhang Guocheng said, "Fishery application system utilizes global satellite navigation system to manage fishing boats. This is very important to China’s Fishery Industry." He added, "Position-based service is an important part of the application in consumer market. Restoration of positioning signal in ionosphere can help the receiver to function in areas where there is no signal."
Chairman Meng Bo of China Galileo Industries Ltd., the Chinese general contractor, said, "Application of GPS is primarily for military and civilian usage is secondary. The U.S. side gives no guarantee to its customers, and the signals can be turned off any time without advance notice. Galileo system is primarily for civilians; they guarantee their customers that the signals will not be turned off arbitrarily.
China is the first non-E.U. country that participates in the Galileo program and pledged to provide 200 million euros for R&D. China has invested 70 million euros for technology development, the remaining 130 million euros will be used to deploy space and ground devices.
Based on E.U. predictions, Galileo system will bring revenue of tens of billions of euros and tens of thousands of jobs before 2020. China’s Galileo satellite navigation application will generate economic benefits of 260 billion yuan (US$31.7 billion) before 2020.