Raytheon launches WAAS payload to improve GPS accuracy for air travel

May 22, 2017  - By
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Raytheon Company has launched its GEO 6 satellite payload into orbit for its 12-year mission. It is the latest payload to support the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which enhances the reliability and accuracy of GPS¬†signals for directing air travel.

The Raytheon-developed payload is a key element of WAAS, which offers commercial, business and general aviation pilots more direct flight paths, greater runway capability and precision approaches to airports and remote landing sites without dependence on local ground-based landing systems.

“This latest payload launch is the next step in our journey with the FAA to bolster navigation safety and efficiency for commercial and general aviation,” said Bob Delorge, vice president of transportation and support services for Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services.

In June 2016, Raytheon launched WAAS GEO 5, which was recently accepted by the FAA for integration into the operational WAAS system. Both WAAS GEO 5 and GEO 6 were launched to replace aging satellites and enhance GPS precision for the FAA. WAAS increases GPS accuracy from 10 meters to approximately two meters and supports nearly all of the national airspace.

The WAAS GEO 6 payload is hosted on a geostationary satellite, SES-15, owned and operated by SES. The satellite was successfully launched May 17 from Arianespace’s Guiana Space Center in French Guiana aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle.

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