First UK-generated Satnav Signal Coming in Test Project

Satellite communications company Inmarsat is working on a United Kingdom Space Agency-funded test project with the European Space Agency to deliver the first UK-generated satellite navigation signal. The project provides a potential platform for the UK to enhance its post-Brexit positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) capabilities. Other partners are British companies Goonhilly Earth Station Limited and GMV NSL Limited.

Repurposing a transponder from the Inmarsat-3 F5 satellite, the test project — known as UK Space-Based Augmentation System (UK SBAS) — will provide an overlay signal to augment the U.S. GPS, refining its accuracy from a few meters to a few centimetres.

The UK no longer has access to the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) Safety of Life services since leaving the European Union (EU) and is not involved in the EU’s Galileo programme for similar reasons. Therefore, 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.

UK SBAS will provide a basis to assess its future development into an operational capability to support safety-critical applications such as aircraft approaching and landing at airports or navigating ships through narrow channels, especially at night and in poor weather conditions.

Read more in GPS World article.

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