Norway signs on to the EU’s Galileo project

180px-nordicpassportunionNorway is the latest nation to throw some cash into the European Union’s satellite navigation project known as Galileo. The Norwegian government will contribute 68.9 million euros to help see the 3.4 billion euro project get off the ground.

Even though Norway is not part of the 27-nation EU bloc, Norwegian economy and business minister Sylvia Brustad stated that it was important her country participate in this important development. “The project will be of huge importance for the development of the European space industry and it is therefore important that Norwegian businesses are now able to compete,” Brustad said in a statement reported by the AFP.

The EU has been struggling to stump up enough funding for the Galileo navigation project, so the cash injection from Norway is seen as an important boost. The system is expected to go online in 2013, and will serve as a rival for the United States’ Global Positioning System (GPS), which is currently the world’s standard for navigation.

Norway is a member of the European Space Agency, so it has a vested interest in challenging the American satellite system. Two test satellites have already been launched into orbit, and when it’s fully operational, Galileo will use up to 30 satellites to create its navigation web.

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