German company secures EU satellite system contract | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 02.02.2012
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German company secures EU satellite system contract

The German aerospace company OHB has won a contract for over 200 million euros to build eight satellites for the EU’s Galileo satellite system, which will be a major competitor to the American GPS.

A Galileo navigation satellite

OHB will build a further eight satellites for Galileo

The German aerospace company OHB System has won a contract to build eight satellites for the EU's Galileo navigation system.

The European Commission announced in Brussels on Thursday that the contract would be for around 250 million euros ($328 million). Further contracts for the preparation and launch of the satellites were given to French firms Arianespace and Astrium SAS. Until now, the satellites had been launched by the Russian Soyuz rocket.

OHB also secured the last order in 2010 for 14 Galileo satellites.

The satellite system is expected to be put to use from 2014. It is seen as the main competitor to the American GPS (Global Positioning System) and will provide accurate information down to the meter.

In October, 2011, the EU started launching its first satellites for the project. When it is finished, Galileo will be using around 30 satellites. It was originally expected to be up and running by 2008 but, due to high costs, the project was stalled. Galileo has cost the EU around seven billion euros thus far, which is twice as much as planned.

sb/ccp (AFP, Reuters, dpa)