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GalileoThe European Union launched its first Galileo navigation satellite, the Giove-A, on Dec. 28 in a program to end Europe's reliance on the United States' Global Positioning System, or GPS.
The European system, which is expected to go into service in 2008, aims to have an accuracy of 3 feet or less--five times better than the current GPS system.
Cornell University researchers said this week that they've cracked the codes used by the Giove-A, raising questions as to whether the European Space Agency project will be economically viable. But EU officials said the intercepted signals are neither final nor secret.
The fully deployed Galileo system planned will consist of 30 satellites, positioned in three circular Medium Earth Orbit planes.
The 1,300-pound Giove-A satellite was launched on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in the middle of Kazakhstan's steppe.