Russia's Soyuz blasts off from French Guiana
A Russian Soyuz rocket took off from the European space base in French Guiana Friday, carrying the first two satellites in the Galileo system that means to give Europe its own satellite navigation system.
The launch, at 10.30 GMT, was an unprecedented step in space cooperation.
Arianespace, which markets launch at the Kourou base, says it has orders for 14 Soyuz launches, including the third and fourth satellites in the Galileo group.
The 5.4-billion-euro aims to establish European independence from the US’s Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) and will comprise 27 operational satellites and three spares. It will be accurate to within a metre, compared to GPS’s eight metres and improve reception in cities, where tall buildings can block signals.
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