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European Commission - Press release

Natalia, Thijs, Tara, Milena … Galileo satellites bear their names

Brussels, 12 January – Over 16 000 children across the EU participated in the Galileo Drawing Competition in a bid to have a Galileo Programme Satellite named after them which will be launched into space. The winners are being announced at award ceremonies in the Member States over the coming weeks.

The European Commission launched this competition aimed at raising the interest of children in space activities by offering a truly unique opportunity to 27 children to give a satellite their name. Thijs from Belgium and Natalia from Bulgaria were chosen in June last year as the winners in their respective countries and their satellites were successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana on 21st October 2011.

These are the upcoming award ceremonies:

14 January, the Netherlands

16 January, Greece

17 January, Ireland

18 January, France & Latvia

19 January, Hungary

26 January, Czech Republic

9 February, Luxembourg

10 February, Italy

The ceremonies in Slovenia and Estonia took place on 9th and 11 January where the winners, Tara and Milena were announced. Further ceremonies will take place up to the end of March 2012.

Vice President Antonio Tajani, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship said: "I am pleased to see so many children taking part in this initiative. Their creativity and their dreams reminds us all of what pushed mankind to go beyond the visible horizon. With satellite navigation, space exploration, and space observation, the topic of space is of ever increasing importance for citizens and for our economic future. With this competition we wished to incite the children to become enthusiastic about space and its opportunities from a young age. "

The competition can be accessed at

Background: Galileo Drawing Competition

From 1 September to 15 November 2011, children living in the EU and born in 2000, 2001 and 2002 - when the Galileo programme started – have been invited to make a drawing related to space and aeronautics, scan it or take a digital photograph of it and upload it onto the competition's website. In each country, a national jury selected the best drawing and the winning child will have his or her name given to one of the satellites of the Galileo constellation. The first Galileo satellites were launched on 21st October. Further launches will regularly take place until the full constellation is complete. The order in which the names of the children will be given to the satellites is determined by the alphabetical order of the Member States written in the national language(s).

Galileo Navigation system

Galileo will allow users to know their exact position in time and space, just like GPS, but with greater precision and reliability. Galileo is the Programme of the European Union to develop a global satellite navigation system under European civilian control. It will be compatible and, for some of its services, interoperable with the American GPS and Glonass (Russia), but independent from them.

Galileo continues to progress and the Commission will announce details in the coming weeks, including the procurement of additional satellites for the system.

More information on Galileo:

Contacts :

Carlo Corazza +32 22 95 17 52

Sara Tironi +32 22 99 04 03

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