Advanced Television

ESA awards €233m for LEO demo satellites

March 21, 2024

By Chris Forrester

The European Space Agency (ESA) has allocated a budget of €233 million to build a satellite with a target millimetre-level accuracy as the initial ‘demonstrator’ move for its Genesis and LEO-PNT scheme. The budget also covers two 5-satellite mini-constellations for a future orbital Positioning, Navigation and Timing system which are key elements for its Sat-Nav demands.

Thales Alenia Space has won a portion of the order and leads one of the contracting teams. GMV Aerospace & Defence (of Spain) leads the second consortium with OHB System of Germany responsible for the space segment.

Both consortia will build five satellites for launches beginning in 2027.

The plan for the LEO-PNT system is to improve coverage and accuracy for Europe’s Sat-Navs with better in-building penetration and to work in conjunction with Europe’s EGNOS system (the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) and which is in use to aid aircraft and maritime users over most of Europe.

EGNOS itself is a major improvement in terms of accuracy and is particularly advantageous for aircraft on the ground and in the air, but also has applications including precision farming, on-road vehicle management and navigating ships through narrow channels.

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