The French space agency (CNES) and the U.S. company Geostar Corp., have agreed to study the extension of a commercial satellite system that locates ships, planes and land vehicles, CNES said in a communique today.
The aim is to extend the Geostar system, which was developed in the United States, into Europe and eventually Africa and the Middle East, the communique said.
The system locates ships, planes, trains and trucks to within 30 yards of their position using geostationary satellites--communications satellites that orbit at a speed and altitude allowing them to maintain a stationary position relative to the surface of the earth.
It also permits two-way communication with the vehicles.
The accord follows last month’s successful launch by a European Ariane-3 rocket of the GSTAR-2 satellite, which forms part of the Geostar network in the United States.
The agreement calls for studies on the system, dubbed Locstar, to run parallel with the Geostar system, due to be extended through the Americas and the Far East.
The European Ariane rocket that launched the GSTAR-2 is the only commercial Western satellite launch system in operation, because of the grounding of the U.S. space shuttle program after the Challenger disaster in January.