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Viasat demonstrates SBAS for UK EGNOS

January 31, 2024  - By
Representatives from organizations involved in the UK Sovereign Satellite Based Augmentation System. (Image: Viasat)

Representatives from organizations involved in the UK Sovereign Satellite Based Augmentation System. (Image: Viasat)

Viasat, a global communications company, has successfully demonstrated the UK Satellite-Based Augmentation System (UK SBAS) during a recent test flight. This demonstration, conducted as part of an ongoing trial funded by the Department for Transport through the European Space Agency (ESA), showcased the potential of UK SBAS to provide accurate GPS data to improve safety and operational efficiency.

“The trial on a sovereign UK SBAS is all about delivering trust. Trust for pilots in their tracking systems to stay safe in challenging conditions. Trust for the aviation industry more broadly so it can rely on data to operate more efficiently,” said Todd McDonnell, president, international government, Viasat.

The test flight, carried out from Cranfield Airport using the National Flying Laboratory Centre’s Saab 340B aircraft, demonstrated the capabilities of a UK-based SBAS to deliver more precise and reliable navigation data. With the UK no longer part of the EU’s European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), the trial aims to pave the way for a complementary UK SBAS, specifically designed for critical safety-of-life navigation services across air, land and sea.

UK SBAS operates by merging ground monitoring data with satellite connectivity, which offers positioning accuracy down to a few centimeters. The system aims to significantly enhance safety in aviation by providing pilots with confidence in their onboard instruments, particularly during challenging weather conditions where visibility may be limited.

The successful aviation test marks a crucial step in further trials across various transport applications, including rail, unmanned aerial vehicles, and autonomous road vehicles, said Viasat.

Fully funded by the government through ESA’s Navigation Innovation and Support Program (NAVISP) program, the trial aligns with broader efforts to deliver high-accuracy, high-integrity positioning services to boost efficiency and innovation across the transport network.

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