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EGNOS Declared Fully Operational

The European satellite navigation network was declared certified March 2 for use by European civil-aviation authorities. The network is intended to complement the U.S. GPS satellite navigation constellation.




The European satellite navigation network was declared certified March 2 for use by European civil-aviation authorities.  The network is intended to complement the U.S. GPS satellite navigation constellation.

In certifying the satellite and ground network as ready to guide civil aircraft to runway landings with precise vertical accuracy, European officials were able to complete “the first concrete realization” of years of work on the regional system and their planned global Galileo navigation constellation, said Charles Villie, EGNOS project manager at the European Commission.

EGNOS, or European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System, comprises 40-plus ground stations linked to three satellites in geostationary orbit over the equator equipped with EGNOS terminals. EGNOS enhances the reliability and accuracy of U.S. GPS signals, permitting civil-aviation authorities to continue their planned move away from ground-based navigation aids toward satellite guidance.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, has set detailed reliability standards for regional GPS-overlay systems like EGNOS. EGNOS is the European equivalent to the U.S. Wide-Area Augmentation System, WAAS, which has been in service for six years and has been adopted by more than 40,000 airports in North America.

The EGNOS ground network was built by Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy and financed by the European Commission, the 18-nation European Space agency and Eurocontrol, Europe’s civil-aviation authority.

Now that it is certified, each European nation’s national aviation body will have to install the necessary hardware to permit EGNOS-guided operations at their airports.

The system has been in development for 15 years of development, and is estimated to cost some 110 million euros ($150 million) per year to operate and maintain EGNOS.

Similar systems are being built by Japan and India.


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About Wayne Farley

Wayne Farley

I am Wayne, an aviation safety evangelist who once made my living working in the control tower. Engage me while I share my thoughts, experience, and news from the aviation world. After writing "13 Characteristics of an air traffic controller" in 2010, it went viral and established me as an unofficial ambassador for ATC.

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