Summary Box: EU launches satellite navigation

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THE LAUNCH: The first two satellites of the European Union’s Galileo navigation system went up Friday on a Russian rocket. It kicks off competition with the GPS network run by the United States.

DELAYS AND DELAYS: The idea for the program first rallied support in the late 1990s, and its development has been pushed back with delays ever since. When it became clear in 2008 that private investors weren’t lining up to finance Galileo, the EU decided taxpayers would underwrite most of the program.

NEXT STEPS: Two satellites will go up every quarter as of the end of 2012 until all 30 satellites are up.