The European satellite navigation programme Galileo has been cleared and financed for its move from development to deployment, the European Commission has announced. Approval for Galileo's deployment funding and go-ahead to launch the satellites and build the ground receiving stations has now been given by the European Council, and the Commission says the system will be operational in 2008.

Commission vice-president Jacques Barrot says:"Galileo will be as much a revolution as mobile telephony." With its definition phase completed, the €2.1 billion ($2.78 billion) development phase has now been cleared, funded one third by the public sector with the remainder from the private sector, says the Commission. When it goes operational in 2008 Galileo will be fully compatible with the USA's global positioning system, but Europe claims it will have higher built-in integrity and greater accuracy. Recurrent system costs will be funded in the first few operational years by a €500 million grant, and after that fully by users. It will provide a free "open" service and an upgraded highly accurate service paid for by commercial users.

Source: Flight International