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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Helicopter Flight Tests the Future of SatNav in Europe

  Veronica Magan

An airborne testing in Germany last month gathered data on the future collaboration of Europe’s two satellite navigation systems: Galileo and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS). The helicopter used a variety of maneuvers to test how satnav signals are received in practice using prototype signals from the next generation of EGNOS and simulated Galileo signals.

So far, four Galileo satellites have been placed in orbit but it will take more to provide global coverage. At this point they provide the minimum for basic navigational services.

EGNOS uses satellites, processing facilities and a network of ground stations to sharpen the accuracy of U.S. GPS signals over European territory. It is already certified for European aviation but the helicopter test was dedicated to see how EGNOS and Galileo operate together.

The next generation of EGNOS is planned to be operational by 2020. The idea behind it is having a robust and highly accurate system that is capable of managing GPS and Galileo data.

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