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South Korea joins Galileo

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South Korea has become the latest non-EU country to sign up to the Galileo satellite navigation project, the European Commission announced today. The country joins Israel, China and Ukraine aboard the 30-satellite programme, with India having initialed an agreement and Saudi Arabia likely to join the club soon.

According to Reuters, these partner countries are "expected to cooperate with the European Union in the areas of scientific research and training, trade and market development". The EC hopes that, by 2020, Galileo will boast three-billion receivers "generating revenues of €275bn ($333.8bn) a year and creating more than 150,000 jobs in Europe alone".

EC Transport Commissioner, Jacques Barrot, said in a statement: "After the successful launch of the first Galileo Giove-A satellite, this new agreement underlines, once again, the ever-growing worldwide interest for the program."

Giove-A's launch was indeed a success, blasting off from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on 28 December. The purpose of this "demonstrator" is to "trial technologies for future Galileo satellites", "transmit sat-nav signals to claim frequencies for Galileo" and test in-orbit performance of two rubidium atomic clocks. ®

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