Sunday, January 01, 2006

GPS alternative launched

From CBS:
The first satellite in the EU's Galileo satellite navigation program was launched from Kazakhstan on Wednesday, a major step forward for Europe's answer to the United States' Global Positioning System.
Why is this potentially important to us?
Last year, U.S. President George Bush ordered plans for temporarily disabling GPS satellites during national crises to prevent terrorists from using the navigational technology.

Galileo is under civilian control. The European Space Agency says it will guarantee operation at all times, except in case of "the direst emergency." It also says users would be notified of any potential satellite problems within seconds.
I used to think that a national crisis was rare thing, where life would sort of change, and there'd not be a lot of location-based ARGames played. But lately it seems that the U.S. is moving to a constant state of national crisis, so it's nice that the ESA is getting an alternative in place. Let's hope the U.S. isn't successful in blocking it.

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