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Cyclist employing an EGNOS-enabled navigation device. Photo source: ESA.

ESA, Thales Alenia Space Sign Contract to Upgrade EGNOS

June 13, 2017

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The European Space Agency (ESA) has signed a contract with Thales Alenia Space for an upgrade of EGNOS, Europe’s satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS).

Designed by ESA and being exploited by Europe’s GNSS Agency (GSA) the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) improves the precision of U.S. GPS signals over most of the European territory, while also providing continuous and reliable updates on the “integrity” of these GPS signals.

Thales Alenia Space is a pioneer in European satellite navigation, and prime contractor for the EGNOS augmentation system, the precursor to Galileo. Alenia Space plays a major role in its development, with system support for Galileo and a lead role in the in-orbit validation phase.

A network of ground monitoring stations throughout Europe performs an independent measurement of GPS signals, so that corrections can be calculated and then passed to users immediately via a trio of geostationary satellites.

Contract Signing
The result is that the EGNOS-augmented signals are guaranteed to meet the extremely high performance standards set out by the International Civil Aviation Organization standard, adapted for Europe by Eurocontrol, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation.

Paul Verhoef, ESA's Director of the Galileo Programme and Navigation-related Activities, signed the contract on June 6 at ESA Headquarters in Paris with Philippe Blatt, Vice President of Thales Alenia Space France.

Contract Partners
ESA is performing the procurement of “EGNOS Version 2.4.2” under the overall program authority of the GSA, which oversees both EGNOS and Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system. Two upgraded EGNOS releases will be provided over the course of the development: EGNOS V2.4.2I and EGNOS V2.4.2A.

These releases will resolve various obsolescence issues related to EGNOS’s Central Processing Facility, based in Toulouse – which generates the corrections and integrity information to be broadcast across the European continent – to ensure continuity of EGNOS services into the future, including safety-of-life services, to an ever-expanding community of users, according to the ESA.

EGNOS Augmenting Satellite Vavigation
This new contract includes a refreshment and enhancement of the Central Processing Facility design without algorithm modification; an optimized qualification process; a guarantee of full compliance to safety-critical software development requirements; the performance of end-to-end verification activities extending to the three geostationary satellites used by the system; and finally ensuring compliance to a new set of technical requirements and international standards. To watch a video from the ESA on EGNOS augmenting satellite navigation, click Access the video.

In March, Inside GNSS reported on the development of EGNOS V3. With expectations including the delivery of better accuracy and improved resilience to EGNOS performance, there’s plenty of excitement surrounding the development of EGNOS V3. A key step toward this development was taken when the GSA selected Eutelsat Communications for the development, integration and operation of the next-generation EGNOS payload on a future Eutelsat satellite.

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