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ESA Awards New EGNOS Contract To Thales Alenia Space
Thales Alenia Space, the joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), announced on 5 December 2019 that it has signed a new contract with the European Space Agency (ESA), on behalf of the European Commission, to upgrade Europe’s EGNOS satellite navigation system. Via this contract Thales Alenia Space will develop a new version of EGNOS (version V242B), incorporating new advanced functionalities.
Worth a total of about 78 million Euros, this contract includes the following:
expansion of the EGNOS SBAS coverage zone;
installation of a new generation of reference stations (RIMS);
improved algorithms in the computation center (CPF) to boost system performance;
enhanced system security.
Certification and commissioning of this latest version is slated for 2023.
EGNOS, flagship program of the European Union, is the European satellite navigation system, designed to improve positioning messages from GPS (Global Positioning System). First deployed in 2005, with its open service operational since 2009, the current EGNOS system was developed by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor.
“Safety of Life” service an export success
The EGNOS system “Safety of Life” service, available since 2011, is used in aviation to allow aircraft to make precision approaches for landing, without requiring ground-based landing aids. Building on its expertise in this field, Thales Alenia Space signed a contract with the Korean space agency in 2016 to supply the Korean Augmentation Satellite System (KASS).
Including “Safety of Life” navigation services, South Korea’s KASS regional system will initially be used for aeronautical applications. It will provide indispensable assistance during certain flight phases, especially landing, meaning that operators will not need landing aid infrastructures at airports. In the same dynamic, ASECNA selected Thales Alenia Space in early 2019 to conduct a Phase B project, including the provision of a pre-operational service from 2020 as well as a SBAS (Satellite-based Augmentation Systems) in sub-Saharan Africa, to support the significant growth of air traffic in this area thanks to an optimized satellite solution.
“Today’s contract signature bolsters the position of Thales Alenia Space, at the forefront of satellite navigation in Europe, as a supplier of navigation systems including Safety of Life services, with an increasing focus on the export market,” said Benoit Broudy, Navigation business head at Thales Alenia Space in France. “Building on our expertise developed through major programs such as Galileo, EGNOS and Kinéis, as well as the New Space constellation with 25 satellites including IoT capability and native geolocation, for which we are system architect on behalf of CLS, Thales Alenia Space continues to move forward and innovate. We are offering even higher performance and more agile solutions to address the evolving needs of our customers around the world.”
SPAC mergers with space companies made a comeback, with Planet’s and Satellogic’s announced transactions raising almost US$900 million*. Purely private rounds added another US$366 million. Also noteworthy were two public listings in the sector: (1) Seraphim Space Investment Trust raising GBP178.4 million for acquiring stakes held by Seraphim Capital in 15 space companies;