Czechs sign deal to host EU’s satellite navigation

PRAGUE (AP) ? The Czech government has signed a deal for Prague to host the headquarters of an ambitious satellite navigation system that is expected to rival the U.S. Global Positioning System.

The deal was signed Friday in Prague by Czech Transport Minister Pavel Dobes and Carlo des Dorides, executive director of the European GNSS Agency.

The European Union wants to achieve independence in satellite navigation with a system known as Galileo that it says is more precise and more reliable than the current GPS, while fully controlled by civil authorities.

It foresees applications ranging from precision seeding on farmland to pinpoint positioning for search-and-rescue missions. On top of that, the EU hopes the system will reap a financial windfall.

The system, which will eventually have a network of 30 satellites, is expected to become operational in 2014.