Europe's quest to create its own version of the American GPS system has taken another major step forward.
The European Commission has issued a contract worth some 255m euros (£210m; $330m) to a German-UK consortium to provide eight more spacecraft for its Galileo satellite-navigation network.
It takes the number of spacecraft now in production at OHB System of Bremen and SSTL of Guildford to 22.
It also keeps Galileo on course for completion later this decade.
The new contract was announced in London by European Commission vice-president Antonio Tajani, who has overall responsibility for the flagship EU space project.
Two other contracts were also signed that will make it possible to launch future Galileo spacecraft on Europe's big Ariane 5 rocket.
"The new contracts reflect the decision of the commission to move ahead with this project at a fast pace," the EC VP said.
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