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Ten years of safer skies with Europe’s other satnav system

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With 26 satellites in orbit and greater than two billion receivers in use, Europe’s Galileo satellite tv for pc navigation system has made a large impression. However our continent has one other satnav system that has been offering safety-of-life companies for ten years now – likelihood is that you just’ve benefited from it with out noticing.


Its title is EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service. Transmitting indicators from a duo of satellite tv for pc transponders in geostationary orbit, EGNOS provides extra precision to US GPS indicators – delivering a mean precision of 1.5 metres over European territory, a tenfold enchancment over un-augmented indicators within the worst-case – and in addition affirmation of their ‘integrity’ – or reliability – via extra messaging figuring out any residual errors.

Whereas its Open Service has been on the whole operation since 2009, EGNOS started its EU-guaranteed safety-of-life service in March 2011.

EGNOS-equipped cockpit

ESA designed EGNOS because the European equal of the US WAAS, Broad Space Augmentation System, working carefully with the European air visitors administration company Eurocontrol, passing it to the European GNSS Company, GSA, to run operationally.

Guiding airliners down

In the beginning its major buyer is plane. Think about an airliner coming into land at Charles de Gaulle, or one other main European airport, in unhealthy climate. The pilots can not see their runway via clouds and rain, however without having any steering from the bottom they’ll nonetheless confidently descend all the way in which down to only 60 metres’ altitude earlier than needing to make visible contact with the tarmac – because of EGNOS.

EGNOS-using airports and helipads

France’s Pau Pyrénées Airport was the primary airport to make the most of EGNOS, on 17 March 2011. At present, greater than 385 airports and helipads and 60 airways throughout Europe are immediately utilising such EGNOS-based LPV-200 approaches, quick for ‘Localizer Efficiency with Vertical steering – 200 ft (60 m)’. The freely-available EGNOS service requires no floor gear in any respect, changing the radio steering beamed upward by conventional CAT I Instrument Touchdown System (ILS) infrastructure with no lower in efficiency.

EGNOS serving drones

Having guided a whole lot of hundreds of passengers down safely throughout the previous decade – and employed broadly in extra sectors comparable to maritime navigation – EGNOS is now being eyed because the enabler of smaller aerial autos making protected use of airspace,  within the form of autonomous drones.

Airborne drone

The GSA has supported quite a few trials of ‘remotely piloted plane techniques’ geared up with EGNOS in addition to Galileo via its EGNSS4RPAS venture. The projection is that crewed plane might be vastly outnumbered in our skies by every kind of automated aerial autos, employed for every little thing from climate and environmental monitoring to personalised supply companies.

The normal person-based conventional air visitors management mannequin might want to evolve to accommodate such a shift, based mostly on automated monitoring, visitors administration and collision avoidance. This extremely automated model of air visitors management is termed ‘U-space’.

EGNOS’s safety-of-life service is seen as important to creating this occur, shifting from immediately’s state of affairs the place drones are restricted to particular air corridors and line-of-sight operations to allow them to roam freely however safely in busy airspace and built-up areas.


 “The entire thought behind EGNOS’s safety-of-life has been to render satellite tv for pc navigation sufficiently dependable for any type of use,” explains Didier Flament, main ESA’s EGNOS workforce. “After ten years of faultless operations, new functions have gotten plain: drone flight is one instance, and EGNOS can be being evaluated for practice positioning in addition to assisted and autonomous car driving.”

New era of service

ESA retains accountability for the system’s future evolution, and the center of this decade ought to see the debut of its new era, referred to as ‘EGNOS v3’.

SBAS around the globe

Didier provides: “Whereas the present system solely works with single-frequency GPS indicators, EGNOS v3 will function on a multi-frequency, multi-constellation foundation, in a position to increase all obtainable satellite tv for pc indicators in each L1 and L5 bands, together with Galileo. The end result might be far enhanced efficiency and reliability.

“As well as, we’re working with builders of different satellite-based augmentation techniques across the globe to ensure they stay fully interoperable so for example EGNOS-equipped plane can fly between continents on a seamless foundation. Such Interoperability mixed with the arrival of the opposite SBAS techniques below growth in different areas will result in a quasi-global worldwide security of life service protection within the 12 months 2030.”

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