Paris-based Eutelsat says it has won a contract to add a EGNOS payload onto an upcoming Hotbird satellite (13G) which will be launched in H1/2022.
The contract comes from the European GNSS Agency and has a value of €100 million spread over the 15-year life of the satellite. Eutelsat says €85 million of the contract value is dependent on the EGNOS scheme gaining approval and confirmation from the European Union in its 2021-2027 budget.
The EGNOS payload will be built by Airbus Defence & Space. Eutelsat has two ‘Hotbird’ satellites on order with Airbus.
The EGNOS payload (officially the GEO-4 payload) is the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS)and is the first pan-European satellite navigation system. It augments the US GPS satellite navigation system and makes it suitable for safety critical applications such as flying aircraft or navigating ships through narrow channels.
There are currently three EGNOS satellite payloads in operation. This latest order will be the fourth. It delivers spectacular accuracy for aircraft as far as their positioning is concerned – both on the air and on the ground. It is also capable of super-accurate positioning for ground-based activity, for example during events such as the Tour de France cycle race.
Two of the existing satellites are provided by SES (SES-5 and Astra 5B). The third craft is Eutelsat 5 West B launched in 2019 although this craft (built by Northrop Grumman) suffered an in-orbit malfunction and does not deliver its full designed power. However, the EGNOS payload is not affected.
Sami Kassab, a media analyst at Exane/BNPP, says: “If funds are confirmed, this contract could add 60bps of organic revenue growth to FY23 group revenues and 4 per cent to Eutelsat Government revenues. In addition, this contract will help leverage the Hotbird orbital position which historically was mainly used for Video Broadcasting. While small in the context of the group, this contract win (and possibly further EGNOS hosted payload announcements) is a positive for Eutelsat which reports H1 results on February 12th. Our rating remains ‘Equal’.”
Commenting on the agreement, Rodolphe Belmer, CEO at Eutelsat, said: “We are delighted to have been entrusted once again by the GSA for this critical mission. It showcases the unparalleled coverage of our fleet as well as our technological expertise and reliability. Space technology continues to change the way we live, and we are delighted to support the GSA to ensure that European citizens get the most out of satellite navigation programmes. We are looking forward to collaborating on other projects of this nature with GSA.”