Last week’s news that Eutelsat 5 West B could only work at about half-capacity because of a failed solar array had one important slice of good news.
The ‘hosted payload’ on the craft which comprised the GEO-3 apparatus needed to provide a portion of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS) is still working nominally.
The EGNOS/GEO-3 will be brought into use in a couple of months and, when operational, will improve the performance of global navigation systems, including GPS and Europe’s Galileo ‘sat-nav’ system especially their use in the aircraft industry.
The European Space Agency (ESA) describes the work of EGNOS as “EGNOS is essential for applications where accuracy and integrity are critical. For example, in the aviation sector Global Navigation Systems alone does not satisfy the strict operational requirements set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for use in such critical flight stages as final approaches. However, with the addition of EGNOS, which has been certified for civil aviation since 2011, systems such as GPS can satisfy ICAO standards.”
In simple terms, EGNOS-backed data makes GPS and Galileo super-accurate. “Today, EGNOS is benefiting numerous market segments, including aviation, road, rail, maritime, surveying/mapping, location-based services and agriculture,” says ESA.
Moreover, the EGNOS kit on board Eutelsat’s 5 West B is worth €7 million annually to Eutelsat.