Space

A £100 million contract awarded to Eutelsat for next-generation European navigation overlay service

Summary

Eutelsat Communications has been awarded a £100 million contract by the European GNSS Agency, GSA. The funds will be used to develop and operate the agency’s next-generation navigation satellite known as EGNOS for overlay service. EGNOS represents the European Geostationary […]

Eutelsat Communications has been awarded a £100 million contract by the European GNSS Agency, GSA. The funds will be used to develop and operate the agency’s next-generation navigation satellite known as EGNOS for overlay service. EGNOS represents the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service. The satellite will help to boost the US GPS signals’ accuracy and performance. The signals are used for vital security applications for marine, aviation, and land-based clients such as road and railway management agencies.

The contract was signed on 9th February, and GSA entrusted Eutelsat to develop and operate EGNOS GEO-4 service, also known as EGNOS Version 3. Eutelsat is responsible for improving the EGNOS Version 3 predecessor, like incorporating signals from Galileo, the European navigation system. The contract is worth £100 million and will last for 15 years. Eutelsat will first receive a down payment of £15 million, and the rest of £85 million will be released in bunches after European Union confirmation.

Eutelsat Hotbird 13G satellite will host the EGNOS GEO-4 aboard. The EGNOS GEO-4 will provide television broadcasting services to clients in North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. In 2018, Airbus Defence and Space was awarded a contract to develop the Hotbird 13G satellite, which is expected to be launched in 2021. However, on 9th February, Rodolphe Belmer, Eutelsat CEO, said that Hotbird 13G launch is pushed to 2022. Belmer noted that the reason for moving the launching date further is due to manufacturing delays as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

This will be the second time the Eutelsat satellite will be launching aboard the EGNOS payload. In October 2019 is when the first GEO-3hich was hosted aboard using Eutelsat 5 West B. The system of EGNOS has been operating since 2009. It comprises two mission control centres, 40 monitoring stations, three geostationary satellites, six navigation stations, as well as the EGNOS Wide Area Network that help to offer a communication network for all ground segments.

On 9th September, satellite navigation chipsets suppliers in Europe said that they risk being stormed by Chinese, US, and Russian competitors. The 29-firm Galileo Services association asks European governments to develop a strategic plan to back Galileo’s downstream practice. The association said it would be a bit hard in a few years to come for the European industry to pull through the tough competitive GNSS global market. The association added that the European industry’s chance to leap from the recent GNSS market boom would end soon.

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