In the Spotlight

Europe’s EGNOS satellite navigation augmentation system gets big performance boost

In the Spotlight

Europe’s EGNOS satellite navigation augmentation system gets big performance boost

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    A new version of the EGNOS V2 system — V242B, developed by Thales Alenia Space and managed by the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) — has entered service, marking one of the most important upgrades to the EGNOS system since 2006.

    The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) is Europe’s regional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS). This new version introduces a new generation of ground receiving stations and strengthens the system’s security while significantly increasing performance and service coverage.

    World-class resistance to ionospheric scintillation

    Key to the system’s improved performance is its increased resistance to geomagnetic storms, which hinder estimation of ionospheric delay corrections. During geomagnetic storms in December 2023, this new version demonstrated world-leading performance in terms of resistance to ionospheric disturbances, ensuring the best possible service coverage.

    As well as increasing robustness when faced with disturbed geomagnetic conditions, the new version reduces false alerts in GPS satellite clock and position corrections almost tenfold, thereby improving service continuity.

    About EGNOS

    EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service), one of the European Union’s flagship programs, is a satellite-based augmentation (SBAS) system designed to improve positioning signals from the Global Positioning System (GPS). The EGNOS Safety of Life (SoL) service was declared in 2011, on the basis of a system developed by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor. EGNOS SoL is currently managed by EUSPA with the contribution of ESA and operated by the ESSP.

    The EGNOS system enhances the accuracy, reliability and integrity of positioning signals by augmenting Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and is used in a wide range of sectors, from aviation and shipping to precision farming.

    Safer and more sustainable air traffic

    In aviation, EGNOS enables precision approaches to airports without requiring ground guidance systems and helps optimize routing and altitudes to shorten flight times, thereby reducing fuel burn and CO2 emissions.

    SBAS Safety of Life service, an export success

    Building on EGNOS’s success with European institutions, Thales Alenia Space won a contract to supply the Korean Augmentation Satellite System (KASS) satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS). In late 2023, the KASS system was certified by the Korean authorities and has been operating since January 2024, with excellent performance. Initially, Korea’s KASS system will be applied to aviation via a SoL navigation service such as EGNOS.

    In early 2019, the Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) chose Thales Alenia Space to conduct a Phase B project for an SBAS in sub-Saharan Africa, including delivery of a pre-operational service in 2020, to support major air traffic growth in this region, with a secure navigation solution based on the latest space technologies developed by Thales Alenia Space in Europe and Asia. ASECNA, Nigerian operator NIGCOMSAT and Thales Alenia Space performed successful demonstration flights in Lomé and Douala in 2021, using the SBAS signal they have transmitted in the Africa and Indian Ocean region since September 2020 — the first open SBAS service provided in this region, via the NIGCOMSAT-1R satellite. They also carried out a series of demonstrations of additional services provided by the system in Brazzaville, Congo.