At press time, the first of three monthly reports of the technical arguments between experts from LightSquared and the GPS community over GPS jamming was about to be issued.
European Space Agency
Following a certification and verification process, the European Commission approved the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (Egnos) “safety-of-life” service for aviation last Wednesday. Egnos is closely similar to, and compatible with, the U.S. Waas satellite-based augmentation system that corrects timing errors in GPS signals, making it more accurate.
Eurocopter recently announced the success of the flights it conducted in November with an EC145 light twin to test Galileo satellite navigation. Galileo, Europe’s GPS counterpart, is expected to offer higher reliability than current augmented GPS. But
the helicopter manufacturer does not expect the tested applications to be operational until 2015.
AgustaWestland last month announced that Tim Peake, an AgustaWestland senior test pilot, was selected by the European Space Agency as the first British astronaut to join the European Astronaut Corps. The European Space Agency began looking for four new (in addition to the current eight) astronauts in May last year to conduct future missions. The selection process lasted 12 months, with the ESA receiving 8,413 valid applications.
Helileo (Hall 4 Stand E66), a Galileo test bed and expert company located in Aerospace Valley of southwest France, is offering flight testing services to manufacturers of GPS, EGNOS and Galileo receivers. Under an original program, the French start-up company plans to have one engineer testing hardware during French Army pilot training flights operated by Helidax, a private venture, with Eurocopter EC 120 helicopters.
How times change. In the 1990s, the Departments of State and Commerce, backed by the Department of Defense and the GPS industry, were busy persuading foreign nations that with GPS available to everyone worldwide, they shouldn’t waste their money launching their own satnav systems. But the genie got out of the bottle anyway.
Last year was a challenging time for Galileo, Europe’s fledgling global navigation satellite system (GNSS). It started with the collapse of the private consortium established to build the system and culminated in European Union transport ministers making a “do or die” decision to allow the European Commission (EC) to manage the project in conjunction with the European Space Agency (ESA).
The FAA’s original plan to transition to sole-means GPS is no longer practical and some form of backup will be required for the foreseeable future, according to speakers at a recent Navigation Industry Day. This event was sponsored by the DOT, FAA and Civil Aviation Advanced Systems Development (CAASD), which is a component of the federally-funded MITRE research and development center and a key FAA think-tank resource.
Speakers from Eurocontrol and the European Space Agency last month informed attendees at a meeting of the FAA’s Satellite Operational Implementation Team (SOIT) that their organizations would accept liability for system failures when the Galileo satnav system was used in critical applications requiring high-accuracy guidance, such as approach and landing operations.
While EGNOS, SBAS, GBAS and Galileo may be unfamiliar to most North American aviators, they are key elements in Europe’s determined move to a satellite air traffic control environment. Addressing the FAA’s satellite operations implementation team meeting in December, Eurocontrol officials reported on progress toward their vision of