Galileo is the future European, navigation satellite system, the first under civilian control. This system will complement and be interoperable with the US Global Positioning System (gps) and the Russian glonass. For a system available to the public, it will provide an unprecedented accuracy down to the meter range.
Galileo (Image Dutch Space)
The interoperability of Galileo with gps and glonass will make it possible for a user to determine the position of a receiver not only by means of Galileo satellites, but also by using any combination of satellites.
Galileo will not only provide accurate positioning, but also assist Search and Rescue missions: each satellite will carry a transponder that will transfer distress signals and inform the user that help is on it's way.
When Galileo is deployed it will consist of 30 satellites, of which 27 will be in operation and 3 available as spares. These satellites will be placed in three different circular orbits (23616 km altitude, inclination of 56 degrees). These orbits will allow good signals even up to a latitude of 75 degrees. On Earth, the satellites will be controlled and managed by two Galileo Control Centers and twenty Galileo Sensors Stations.
The following links give access to external web pages with more information on this subject:
Galileo page on EC site (Directorates-General - Energy and Transport)
Galileo Joint Untertaking
ESA Navigation page