ESA funding expanded to help boost leading role in satellite navigation

December 8, 2022  - By

Image: ESA

The Ministerial Council of the member states of the European Space Agency (ESA) has pledged 351 million euros to ESA’s board of directors for navigation to aid in multiple satellite navigation endeavors.

This funding helps support ESA’s FutureNAV program, the Navigation Innovation and Support Program (NAVISP), and the Moonlight Initiative, developed for lunar telecommunications and navigation coverage and innovation.

The FutureNAV program is aimed at addressing the rapidly growing need for more ubiquitous, resilient and reliable positioning, navigation and timing (PNT). Its first mission consists of an initial in-orbit demonstration, small constellation of low-Earth-orbit (LEO) navigation satellites. The LEO-PNT satellites will test a multi-layer approach to deliver more accurate and robust PNT services, supplementing Galileo.

The second FutureNAV mission, GENESIS, will map the moving contours of Earth, while enhancing the accuracy of Galileo.

The expanded funding will also be invested in NAVISP. The program has already began working on over 200 projects relating to satellite navigation, PNT research, and backing Member States in research priorities.

Lastly, funding is being delegated to the Moonlight Initiative, a project designed by ESA to extend satellite navigation and telecommunications coverage to the Moon. The advancement and launch of Moonlight infrastructure on the Moon will undertake several missions bolstering future Moon exploration.

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About the Author: Maddie Saines

Maddie was a managing editor at GPS World.