EU Launches Satellite in Galileo Project

The European Union launched the first satellite in its planned Galileo navigation project Wednesday. European Space Agency officials say Galileo will let people pinpoint a location to within about three feet.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Today, the European Union took a step to create a technological rival to the United States. Europeans launched the first satellite in its Galileo navigation project. European space agency officials say Galileo will eventually let people pinpoint a location to within about three feet. That's better than the US global positioning system or GPS. The US system is controlled by the military, which, for national security reasons, will only offer civilians a precision of about 16 feet. By 2008, consumers should be able to buy devices that switch back and forth between Galileo and GPS.

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Correction Dec. 30, 2005

The accuracy of the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, is no longer limited for security reasons, as reported. The GPS can now pinpoint locations within three feet.

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