Inmarsat modifies satellite for UK’s GPS
December 8, 2021
By Chris Forrester
Inmarsat-3 F5, launched back in 1998, is being reconfigured in orbit from its 54 degrees West location to serve the UK’s global positioning system. The UK, because of Brexit, is officially unable to access the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) system.
The modification will have the result of focusing the satellite’s beams to provide more accuracy – of a few centimetres – rather than the few metres available prior to the reconfiguration.
Inmarsat says the tighter signals will commence by the end of March next year. The work is being funded by the UK’s Space Agency.
“This new national capability supported by current and future Inmarsat satellites could offer a new option for high-integrity, precision navigation across the country, in its airspace and within surrounding waters,” says Inmarsat.
Inmarsat adds that the project will “extend the long life” of the satellite, saying the partnership has all the assets needed to activate the system in a “very short timeframe”.
“This work also has the potential to be exported to other nations around the world, benefiting the UK economically as well as technologically,” says Nick Shave, VP/strategic programmes for Inmarsat’s Global Government division.