The European Space Agency (ESA) has chosen Airbus as the prime contractor to develop the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) V3. This is the next generation of the European Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) which is to provide the aviation community with advanced Safety of Life services and new services to maritime and land users.

Over Europe EGNOS V3 will improve the accuracy and availability of user positioning services, taking information from the global navigation satellite systems, Galileo and GPS. Further, it will alert EGNOS users within seconds of any system degradation. According to Airbus, in a press statement, as well as offering new services, the system, “will improve robustness against increasing security risks, in particular cyber-security risks”.

EGNOS V3 should ensure continuity of service for the next decade and will be the first operational SBAS to implement the dual frequency, multi-constellation world standard – with both GPS and Galileo. It replaces EGNOS V2 which has been in operation since 2011.

Nicolas Chamussy, Head of Space Systems at Airbus, stated, “The [signing] of this contract is the result of more than five years’ intense team work and investment…with our Consortium, we bring a large pool of resources and experience in Europe covering the successful development of critical and secure ground segment.”

Leading the consortium

As prime contractor, Airbus will lead a consortium with partners from France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. It will be responsible for the development, integration, deployment and preparation of EGNOS V3 operations, the overall performance of the system and the Central Processing Facility at the heart of the real-time navigation algorithms.

During the contract, which lasts six and a half years, around 100 people and 20 subcontractors will work to deliver the system. The single frequency version will be available in 2023 to replace the current operational version and the final, dual-frequency version is scheduled for delivery 18 months later.

The ESA developed the EGNOS V3 on behalf of the European Commission and the European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency. It comprises about 50 ground stations over Europe, Africa and North America, with two master control centres near Rome and Madrid, and an operational support centre in Toulouse. EGNOS will also use geostationary satellites’ navigation payload.

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