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ASECNA provide the first African early SBAS open service

Posted 11 September 2020 · Add Comment

ASECNA, NIGCOMSAT Ltd and Thales Alenia Space take a crucial step towards the provision of satellite navigation services in the Africa & Indian Ocean region.

ASECNA has started to broadcast a SBAS (Satellite Based Augmentation System) signal over Africa & Indian Ocean (AFI)  region, providing the first SBAS open service in this part of the world via NIGCOMSAT-1R Satellite managed and operated by Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd under Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy of Nigeria.

This early open service is provided as part of the « SBAS for Africa & Indian Ocean » programme which pursues the autonomous provision over the continent of SBAS services, to augment the performances of the satellite navigation constellations GPS and Galileo. With improved accuracy to within a meter, and boosted integrity, availability and continuity of safety - related applications, these SBAS services will improve flight  safety  and  efficiency  in  Africa,  and  also  benefit to  the  economy  in many  areas  as  land,  sea  and  rail transport, as well as mass market applications, supporting user safety, cost effectiveness and sustainable development.

The launched open service essentially aims to carry out technical trials, and to undertake with partner airlines field demonstrations for aircraft and rotorcraft, to demonstrate the benefits of the future operational safety of life SBAS services, expected from 2024. It will also include early Precise Point Positioning (PPP) and emergency warning service to populations, which performance will be proven through other demonstrations.

The signal in space is generated by a dedicated system testbed, developed as part of the “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” preliminary design phase, financed by the European Union and awarded to Thales Alenia Space, Joint Venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%). The “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” is based on the European EGNOS developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) acting under delegation of the European Commission and operated by the European GNSS Agency GSA.

“We are proud to be part of this ambitious program to provide satellite navigation services in the Africa and Indian Ocean region. The use of our geostationary communication satellite NIGCOMSAT-1R navigation payload to broadcast the first signal will be Africa’s premier contribution to SBAS as a regional satellite based augmentation system for the continent ” declared Dr. Abimbola Alale, MD/CEO of NIGCOMSAT Ltd.

“Our l ongstanding expertise acquired with the development of EGNOS SBAS in Europe and KASS SBAS in Korea  combined with our new leading edge satellite positioning technologies makes Thales Alenia Space the ideal partner to best support countries to implement their own  SBAS efficiently. The equatorial region represents also a key engineering challenge for such a system due to difficult ionosphere conditions, for which Thales Alenia Space has developed a proven solution ”, declared Benoit Broudy, Vice President of the Navigation business at Thales Alenia Space in France.

“The provision of the first African SBAS early service is a crucial major step forward in the development of satellite navigation in the AFI Region, and in the deployment of the “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” system, the navigation solution for Africa by Africa. It demonstrates the ambition and commitment of ASECNA to enhance air navigation safety for the benefit of the whole continent, in line with my vision for the unification of the African Sky ”, stated Mohamed Moussa, Director General of ASECNA.

 
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