On the ground: Galileo GPS system
Last week, the first satellite of the new Galileo project was launched. Galileo is an european project to launch a series of satellites to provide a civilian version of the GPS system. While GPS is free for civilian use, it is run by the US military with no guaranty that the system will remain available for free. The European Union decided to launch it's own system that will be civilian and have enhanced services.
The system will have several levels of services, the most basic one being global positioning, which will be free for everyone. The positioning will also be much more precise than with GPS, with more satellites being visible from any point, at least in Europe. Commercial services will also be available for subscription fees, and eventually more services will be available to devices with a Galileo chip, such as search and rescue services, weather alerts, movie listings, and more. The system is expected to be completed in 2010.