The already operational European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) is Europe’s first venture into satellite navigation and paves the way for Galileo, Europe’s independent global satellite navigation system. As a satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS), EGNOS improves the accuracy of basic satellite navigation signals in Europe such as those from the USA’s Global Positioning System (GPS). This makes GPS suitable for safety critical applications such as aviation or maritime navigation.
The EGNOS system is composed of transponders installed on three geostationary satellites and an interconnected ground network of about 40 positioning stations and four mission control centres. At the moment, EGNOS offers good performance in all EU countries with the exception of certain places located in the northern, southern, and eastern extremes of EU territory. This will be improved in the future. EGNOS also has the technical capability to be extended to North Africa and the Middle East, pending the construction of additional ground infrastructure.
Many sectors of the European economy are increasingly reliant on satellite navigation services in transport, logistics, telecommunications, energy, and other applications. The market for satellite navigation services has been growing steadily and is expected to be worth EUR 250 billion per year by 2022. Today, around 6-7% of the EU economy is dependent on the availability of global navigation satellite signals.
The goal of the EU’s satellite navigation programmes is to:
The European Commission analyses the impact EGNOS has on competitiveness in four main segments of the EU economy:
EGNOS offers three high-performance navigation and positioning services:
The services can be used in a wide variety of applications including aviation and agriculture.
The development of EGNOS was managed by the European Space Agency (ESA) under a tripartite agreement with the European Commission and the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol).
The ownership of the EGNOS assets was transferred from the ESA to the Commission in April 2009 and EGNOS officially entered service on 1 October 2009. Through a contract with the European GNSS Agency (GSA), the service is delivered by the European Satellite Services Provider, ESSP SaS, which was founded by seven air navigation service providers. The GSA has been the EGNOS Programme Manager under delegation from the Commission since 2014 and the ESA is the design and procurement agent working on behalf of the Commission.