Advanced Television

Inmarsat tests UK GPS signals

June 10, 2022

Since withdrawing from the European Union the UK is looking to establish its own satellite navigation system for positioning.

Inmarsat says a test signal from one of its satellites is stable and operational, enabling ongoing testing and validation by industry, regulators, and users. The signal is claimed to be more accurate than the EU’s Galileo system.

The UK is no longer part of Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system after leaving the European Union, and cannot use the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) safety of life services, which provide GPS for airport approach and landing operations for aircraft

Inmarsat is testing a potential UK solution, the UK Space Based Augmentation System (UKSBAS), with British partners Goonhilly Earth Station and GMVNSL. UKSBAS repurposes the SBAS transponder on Inmarsat’s I-3 F5 satellite located at 54 degrees West. Inmarsat announced the trial project in December 2021.

Inmarsat said UKBAS is designated to provide more precise navigation for maritime and aviation users in UK waters and airspace, increasing accuracy in positioning to a few centimeters of accuracy rather than the few meters provided by standard GPS.

Nick Shave, vice president of Strategic Programmes for Inmarsat Global Government said the programme allows Inmarsat to extend the live of its I-3 F5 satellite, two decades after its launch.

“We look forward to exploring the potential for this project and the benefits it could deliver to the UK with more precise, high-integrity, resilient navigation services, whilst also exploring future capabilities on new satellites through Inmarsat’s fully funded technology roadmap. This work also has the potential to be exported to other nations around the world, benefitting the UK economically as well as technologically,” commented Shave.

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