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Thales Alenia Space win EU deal to make airports more accessible

written by Adam Thorn | June 23, 2022

Thales and Leonardo’s joint space venture has won an EU contract to improve the accuracy of global navigation systems such as GPS and NASA’s Galileo.

Thales Alenia Space said the new system in development – the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) – will help make airports “more accessible” by supporting civil aviation operations.

The EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) has awarded a contract for the development, qualification, and deployment of the new European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) version.

EGNOS would be used to support civil aviation operations for specific GNSS approaches, helping to improve safety and reduce aviation’s environmental footprint.

Specifically, Thales Alenia Space has been tasked with providing EUSPA and the EU Navigation community with a new version of EGNOS (V243), secured by a new Navigation Land Earth Station technology — dubbed NLES-G3.

The NLES is designed to transmit the EGNOS message containing all accuracy and integrity corrections to the geostationary satellites, which is then broadcast to aviation operators.

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The NLES-G3 capability would be integrated with a new geostationary satellite, “GEO3”, which is tipped to enhance the EGNOS system’s end-to-end performance.

Certification and commissioning of the NLES-G3 version is expected in 2024.

This latest contract follows Thales Alenia Space’s recent integration of a new satellite into Galileo’s Ground Mission Segment (GMS), tipped to increase positioning service for 3.3 billion users.

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Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor for Galileo First Generation’s Ground Mission Segment, set to complete the launch of a GSAT0223 satellite, which has reportedly increased the operational constellation to 23 satellites for positioning and 25 for search and rescue.

This new satellite has been positioned in orbit, with its payload signals inserted in the Ground Mission Segment (GMS) operational chain of Galileo.

“This new Galileo milestone demonstrates that Thales Alenia Space is successfully completing the ground segment which will improve Galileo’s position by integrating a new satellite,” Benoit Broudy vice president, navigation business at Thales Alenia Space, said.

“We are also delighted to have been selected to develop this new EGNOS version and to introduce a next generation of uplink Navigation Land Earth Station (NLES).

“At Thales Alenia Space, we are preparing for the future, and we are committed to innovate and continuously develop new solutions for our satellite-based augmentation systems (SBAS) customers and Galileo users around the world.”

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