Launch for European satnav project

It won't be at full capacity until 2013 but the bid to set up a European satnav system took a giant step forward today. A "demonstrator" satellite for Europe's Galileo sat nav system has been launched from Kazakhstan.

The Giove-B satellite has been sent into the stars to test the technology which will eventually power the Galileo network.

The tech includes atomic clocks which will provide the precise timing that is at the heart of all satellite navigation applications - precise to an accuracy of one nanosecond (billionth of a second) in 24 hours.

Giove-B follows Giove-A which was sent up in 2005 and is an other key step, which will finally see Europe have its own system in place up in the space to rival those currently in place owned by the US and Russia.

The project has already set the European Commission and European Space Agency back 1.6 billion euros (or £1.3 billion) but a further 3.4 billion euros (or £2.7 billion), has recently been approved.

The EC team is promising it'll be worth the wait as the system will be better than the current options so that satnav users will be able to locate their positions with in 1 metre.