The European Commission has announced that the first of two satellites which will provide a dedicated global positioning system (GPS) across the European Union will launch on 20 October.
The satellite will be launched from Europe's Space Port in Kourou, French Guiana, and put into a 23.6km orbit to begin providing coverage across the region by 2014. Further launches are scheduled until the service is complete by 2019.
Antonio Tajani, vice president of industry and entrepreneurship for the EC, explained that the launch will be a key moment in the organisation's history and will benefit businesses of all sizes.
"This launch is of historical importance. Europe is demonstrating that it has the capability to be at the forefront of technological innovation," he said.
"Thousands of SMEs and innovators across Europe will be able to spot business opportunities and create and develop products based on the future Galileo infrastructure."
The Galileo system will allow European firms in sectors as diverse as electricity grids, fleet management, financial transactions and shipping to avoid having to rely on GPS systems owned by US companies.
The use of satellite technology to deliver broadband services to remote areas is also being considered by the EC to solve the digital divide across Europe, and numerous satellites are being launched by private firms to provide these services.
V3.co.uk is attending an event in Brussels on Tuesday at which several providers will make the case for the technology to members of the EC, so check back tomorrow for news from the event.
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