The demonstrator, built in by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd., in Britain will test segments in the Galileo network, notably its atomic clocks, the BBC reported Tuesday.
Giove-A, scheduled to launch Wednesday, will transmit a sat-nav signal of the correct structure from orbit within the next six months, but perhaps a good deal sooner, according to officials at the European Space Agency.
The Galileo project is the biggest space project undertaken in Europe and will eventually comprise 30 satellites. It has a huge potential for Internet-linked services run off cell phones and global positioning systems.
The Giove-A mission will test two onboard rubidium atomic clocks, which are the heart of any global positioning system.