World Bulletin/News Desk
A Russian-made Soyuz rocket blasted off from French Guiana on Friday and placed in orbit two satellites for Europe's Galileo global position system, space officials said.
It was the third time that Soyuz, which first flew in 1966 and traces its roots back even further to the earliest Cold War intercontinental ballistic missiles, had been launched from outside its former Soviet bases.
The rocket lifted off at 3.15 p.m. (1815 GMT) from a launch pad at Europe's space base near Kourou, French Guiana on the northeast coast of South America.
After a nearly four-hour flight the satellites separated from the rocket, bringing to four the number of Galileo satellites now in orbit. Two other satellites for the project were launched from Guiana last year, also aboard a Soyuz rocket.
Galileo, once fully operational later this decade, aims to give Europeans autonomy from the U.S. government-controlled Global Positioning System (GPS) and other systems created by Russia and China.
Positioning satellites provide accurate navigation to ships, aircraft, trucks and private cars. They are also used extensively by the military, notably to target guided missiles.
Galileo, named after the visionary 17th-century Italian scientist Galileo Galilei, is billed by European Space Agency (ESA) as the means "to free Europe of dependence on America's Global Positioning System".
Latest estimates put the price tag for Galileo at over 20 billion euros for what is planned to be a 30-satellite constellation, to be fully operational by 2020.
European aerospace giant EADS is the prime contractor with major subcontracting by Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture company 67 percent held by France's Thales and Italy's Finmeccanica with a 33 percent share.
Included are the costs of the satellites, launches by Soyuz or Ariane-5 rockets in Guiana and annual operating costs of 800 million euros.
With many ESA member states in economic difficulties, questions have grown over the necessity of a system whose services are already assured by the U.S. GPS constellation.
Facebook will appeal a date privacy ruling in Belgium that forces the social media giant to stop collecting digital information about people who are non-members
Japanese, Chinese, Irish scientists win 2015 Nobel prize in medicine for malaria and parasite research
Discovery could have major implications for pursuit of life on the red planet
Lawsuit sheds light on no poaching policy at Silicon Valley’s biggest companies
Searches for oncoming storms will display information such as maps, forecasts, reminders and preparedness instructions
New service unveiled as survey finds Americans having hard time navigating smartphone etiquette
Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea bid total of over €1.14 billion for the right to use frequencies on the new network
Petition 'will present at least two substantial questions concerning design-patent liability and damages'
The Istanbul Electric Tram and Tunnel Company plans to launch one solar-powered bus on Thursday and several more in the coming days
Roughly 70 million tonnes of fibres are traded globally per year, but nearly two thirds are made from non-renewable products like petroleum and natural gas.
Researchers havfe said that the flaw leaves data stored by apps vulnerable with almost every category of app considered vulnerable
SpaceX revealed Monday that it is building a test track for the Hyperloop, a concept for ultra-fast ground transport the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, unveiled.
Biologists have created chicken embryos with dinosaur-like faces by tinkering with the molecules that build the birds' beaks.
Product available for pre-order in nine countries but devices won’t ship for weeks.
Nobel Prize-winning scientists' discovery can be manufactured cheaper thanks to Nanografi process.
Most industry experts expect the first product of 5G technology in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.