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Augmented satnav meeting focuses on future development

The 6th Satellite-Based Augmentation Systems Interoperability Working Group (SBAS IWG) recently took place in Delhi, India.

During the meeting, SBAS developers and operators were joined by users of the systems, with representatives of airlines, aircraft makers and avionics manufacturers. About 50 people in total attended the meeting.

“Satellite-based augmentation systems deliver the necessary accuracy, integrity, availability and service continuity for aircraft to be able to rely on them though all phases of flight, from cruising in the air to being guided down for landing,” said navigation engineer Didier Flament, head of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) EGNOS and SBAS division, representing ESA at the SBAS IWG.

The meeting covered the Southern Positioning Augmentation Network (SPAN), which had been born since IWG’s previous gathering six months ago. SPAN, a regional SBAS program, covers Australia and New Zealand.

The meeting also covered the progress of the four SBAS currently under definition or development: China’s Beidou SBAS, BDSBAS, represented by the China Satellite Navigation Office; South Korea’s KASS, represented by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute; the African and Indian Ocean SBAS, represented by the Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar; and the Russian Federation’s System for Differential Corrections and Monitoring (SDCM), represented by Russian Space Systems, RSS.

Current systems are mostly based around the U.S. GPS system (except for SDCM using Russia’s Glonass and BDSBAS using China’s Beidou) but plans are being laid to move to a dual-frequency, multi-constellation version making use of Europe’s Galileo, China’s Beidou and Russia’s Glonass satnav systems later this decade, IWG said.

Finally, the meeting touched on SBAS research and development, including applying SBAS to Europe’s railways.

Today, there are 10 satellite-based augmentation systems for satnav that are either in operation or active development, IWG added. The group is working to ensure that the future evolutions of all these systems will operate on a similar basis with common technical requirements, allowing the easy transition of continent-crossing air traffic from one system to another.

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