The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded two contracts to Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), concerning EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service).
These contracts, fully financed under the European Commission H2020 program, concern study phases on the system evolution. They will call on Thales Alenia Space’s expertise as program prime contractor for over 25 years to study and develop upgrades for the EGNOS satellite navigation system.
The first contract concerns possible upgrades for EGNOS aeronautical services, designed to improve performances in order to increase landing safety under limited visibility conditions (from current CAT-I to CAT-II), over the current EGNOS footprint, focused on Europe.
The second contract will study changes required to extend its aeronautical services worldwide. Based on state-of-the-art technologies, this upgrade will call on the A-RAIM (Advanced Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring) concept and the global coverage of the Galileo satellite navigation constellation.
RAIM is an already deployed technology that assesses the integrity of signals in the receivers that are part of a global positioning system, mainly GPS. Galileo will now be incorporated in the advanced version of this concept, A-RAIM, to provide enhanced horizontal guidance performance, not possible with RAIM using only GPS. The new concept would thus provide “Safety of Life” aeronautical services, including approaches with vertical guidance, thanks to inputs from GPS and Galileo via EGNOS.
Benoit Broudy, Head of the Navigation business at Thales Alenia Space in France, said that these contracts are key for satellite navigation in Europe and bolster Thales Alenia Space’s European leadership in state-of-the-art satellite navigation systems, including Safety of Life services. The company's successes on export markets, as in South Korea, validate this innovative approach that allows the firm to offer increasingly powerful and agile solutions to meet the evolving requirements of customers from around the world.