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Galileo: the last test satellite launched

(BRUSSELS2 in Fucino – Italy) Launched at the Baikonur cosmodrome (Kazakhstan), the latest test satellite for European GPS – Galileo – was mainly piloted at the center of Fucino (Italy) by the European Space Agency, from a small room ordinary looking, with telephone and control screen.

 Despite the distance, there is something extraordinary about the ignition of the rocket. And to be in the viewing room with all those who participated in the implementation of Galileo - operators like the European Space Agency or Arianespace, industrialists like Thales or Astrium, political leaders, like the rapporteur of the European Parliament , Etelka Barsi Pataky or the European Commissioner for Transport, Jacques Barrot - we undoubtedly find our childhood memories, when the rocket lights up, when the countdown finally leaves only the final seconds - 5-4-3-2 -1… Upon takeoff, immediately, we only perceive a ball of fire and a trace like a final apocalypse. It takes a moment, which seems to last a long time, but is in fact only a fraction of a second, to realize that “no, the rocket did not explode”. And she simply took off… It’s 0:16 a.m.

To return to earth, this launch - after the acceptance by the Member States and the European Parliament of public funding (= 3,4 billion euros) for the installation of the 30 satellites - marks the start of the Space Europe. The success of this “technical test allows space Europe to take a step forward” as Commissioner Barrot declared.

Make no mistake! Beyond the technical aspects, industrial issues and political declarations, for Europe there is a real strategic interest : Europe thus gains its independence for the future. Being able to control the entire chain: from the launch of the satellite to the final recognition of the signal, possibly usable in the field, by the military.

 (Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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