At 23:04 on March 22nd, 2014, the giant rocket Ariane 5 lifted off from the European Space Port of Kourou, sending to space it payload of satellites, amongst which the ASTRA 5B GEO-2 of carrying the EGNOS payload.
WATCH THE VIDEO OF THE LAUNCH ON ARIANESPACE YOUTUBE CHANNEL :
This successful launch will ensure the replacement of an aging EGNOS satellite, and so provide augmented navigation services for another 15 years.
ASTRA 5B has a launch mass of 5724 kilograms, a wingspan of 40m once its solar arrays are deployed in orbit, and a spacecraft power of 13kW at the end of its 15-year design lifetime.
EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service, is a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) that improves the accuracy and provides integrity to the GPS signal over most of Europe.
SBAS systems are designed to augment the navigation system constellation by broadcasting additional signals from geostationary (GEO) satellites; they provide differential correction messages and integrity data for the GPS satellites which are in the view of a network of monitoring stations, taking into account signal distortions provoked by factors like the ionosphere, and which could seriously impair the precision of the localisation.
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.
EGNOS delivers 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).
It is is the first pan-European satellite navigation system and Europe's first venture into satellite navigation and a major stepping-stone towards Galileo, Europe's own future global satellite navigation system.
EGNOS is made up of transponders on board three geostationary satellites (Artemis, Inmarsat 3F2, Inmarsat 4F2), and an interconnected ground network of forty positioning stations and four control centres which cover most of the territory of the EU offering three high-performance navigation and positioning services:
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.
As from January 1st, 2014, EGNOS is operated by the European GNSS Agency (GSA) based in Prague.