On June 26th, a €450 million contract for the provision of EGNOS services until 2021 was signed by the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and the European Satellites Services Provider (ESSP SAS) in the presence of European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani. (picture : courtesy of ESSP)
EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) improves the performance of the US GPS system by providing both correction and integrity information.
It enables precision landing approaches and makes air navigation safer in more than 80 European airports to date - a number which is increasing every week.
Today´s contract will secure the continuous provision of EGNOS services and also covers the maintenance and upgrading of EGNOS's system infrastructure.
The eight year duration of the contract clearly indicates the EU has committed to provide the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) user communities with the visibility and stability which is required to invest and benefit from in EGNOS applications.
EGNOS delivers opportunities for Europeans to use more accurate positioning data, for improving existing services or developing a wide range of new services for different market segment such as aviation, mapping, precise agriculture, road, and location-based services (LBS).
EGNOS is made up of transponders on board three geostationary satellites, and an interconnected ground network of forty positioning stations and four control centres which cover most of the territory of the EU.
EGNOS offers three high-performance navigation and positioning services:
1. EGNOS Open Service increases the accuracy of the current GNSS and enables the use of applications requiring higher precision by correcting errors caused by atmospheric disturbance factors. Citizens can profit from better personal GNSS navigation provided that they use an EGNOS-enabled receiver (as most recent models do). This Open Service is also already widely used in agriculture for high precision applications such as the spraying of fertilisers and in mapping (for an accurate measurement of areas).
2. The Safety-of-Life Service enables precision landing approaches and renders air navigation safer as well reducing delays, diversions and cancellations of flights. EGNOS also enables the planning of shorter, more fuel-efficient routes which reduce the CO2 emissions of the aviation industry.
3. The Commercial Service or EDAS provides a terrestrial commercial data service which offers professional users ground-based access to EGNOS data.
More countries and Air Navigation Services Providers join EGNOS
Recently, in spring 2013, two working agreements were signed on the implementation of EGNOS-based operations in Poland and the Exeter and Devon airport in the UK. These come in addition to agreements concluded with France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and for the UK Channel Island of Guernsey. The working agreement is a first step towards the publication of EU Member State agreed EGNOS procedures. These EGNOS services will improve safety, accessibility and efficiency for pilots and operators, without the need for infrastructure installation and maintenance.
EGNOS is currently available over more than 80 airports (details on http://www.essp-sas.eu), while other European airports should also soon be equipped.
EGNOS's Safety-of-Life service provides the following benefits:
• Increased aviation safety: EGNOS allows precision landing which significantly reduces safety risks, especially in poor weather conditions.
• Lower operating costs: The EGNOS signal is provided free of charge and only requires a receiver on-board the aircraft. No ground infrastructure is required.
• Less delays, diversions and cancellations: EGNOS requires lower aircraft separation limits at busy airports during poor meteorological conditions, meaning fewer delays, diversions and cancellations of flights
• Less noise pollution: The optimised flight routes and ‘curved approach’ procedures made possible by EGNOS allow planes to optimise their descent to the runway, limiting noise to the area surrounding the airports.
• Increased capacity for smaller airports: The vertical guidance offered by the system means planes are able to land in restricted visibility conditions, increasing the capacity of airports, especially small and medium-sized airports that cannot afford the more expensive alternative technologies.
In order for the EGNOS service to be used airports must have specific runways landing procedures.
EGNOS is owned by the European Commission and was launched in 2009 to be part of the Galileo global satellite navigation system. The European Space Agency designed EGNOS under a delegation agreement with the Commission.
EGNOS is the first pan-European satellite navigation system. Similar services are provided in North America by the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), in Japan by the Multifunctional Satellite Augmentation System (MSAS) and in India by the GAGAN System. Other similar Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) are under study or development in other regions of the world.