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GSA picks Eutelsat to develop EGNOS payload

William Payne
March 16, 2017

The European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA) has selected Eutelsat Communications to develop and operate the next-generation EGNOS payload on a future Eutelsat satellite. The EGNOS service will provide greater accuracy and reliability for GPS and GNSS. It will allow more accurate and reliable use of geolocation services for high accuracy requirements such as aircraft landing.

Eutelsat and GSA have concluded a long-term contract valued at €102 million covering the preparation and service provision phases for the EGNOS GEO-3 payload that will be hosted on the EUTELSAT 5 West B satellite that is due for launch end of 2018. The new payload will replenish current EGNOS capacity and is scheduled to start service in 2019 for a duration of 15 years.

The EGNOS GEO-3 payload on EUTELSAT 5 West B will comprise two L-band transponders that will act as an augmentation, or overlay to GNSS messages. Data from GNSS measurements received by an interconnected ground network of positioning stations across Europe will be transferred to a central computing centre where differential corrections and integrity messages will be calculated and then broadcast by EUTELSAT 5 West B to users. 

The new payload will be the first step towards the deployment of the EGNOS next generation, EGNOS V3. This new generation of EGNOS will augment both Galileo and GPS and is planned to be qualified by 2022. EGNOS V3 will provide a higher level of performance and robustness than the current EGNOS legacy services, as required by the growing use and reliance on such services.

With the addition of the EGNOS payload, Eutelsat is further optimising the EUTELSAT 5 West B satellite that was commissioned in October 2016 on a design-to-cost basis from Airbus Defence and Space and Orbital ATK. Airbus Defence and Space is building the satellite’s commercial Ku-band payload and the EGNOS payload while the platform is being manufactured by Orbital ATK.

EGNOS is a European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service that acts as an augmentation service to Global Positioning Systems to improve the accuracy and reliability of positioning information. EGNOS also provides a crucial integrity message regarding the continuity and availability of a signal which is essential in aviation where GNSS alone does not satisfy strict operational requirements set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for use in critical flight stages such as final approaches. With the addition of EGNOS, which has been certified for civil aviation since 2011, systems such as GPS and Galileo can satisfy ICAO standards. The GSA has been in charge of EGNOS exploitation since 2014.