More than 30 specialists overseeing the world’s five satellite navigation augmentation systems gathered in Russia last week, planning for a high-performance future with many more navigation satellites in orbit, reports the European Space Agency.
The Satellite-Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) Interoperability Working Group was hosted June 25–27 in St. Petersburg by Russia’s Roscosmos space agency and the Russian Academy of Sciences.
With augmentation, additional ground monitoring stations and satellite transponders are applied to sharpen satnav accuracy and reliability across given geographical regions. This enhancement makes satnav suitable for the guidance of aircraft and other precision applications.
Today there are three certified SBAS in operation worldwide: the U.S. Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), Japan’s Multi-functional Satellite Augmentation System (MSAS), and Europe’s Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), the last designed by ESA then turned over for operation by the European Satellite Service Provider, ESSP.
Two more are under development in Russia and India: the Roscosmos-designed System of Differential Correction and Monitoring (SDCM), and the GPS and Geo-Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system, the work of Indian Civil Aviation and India’s ISRO space agency.
Meeting twice yearly, the task of the Working Group is to ensure that the various systems work together on a standardized
basis, so end-users can pass seamlessly between them.
“The Group’s terms of reference include developing a shared vision for future generations of these systems,” commented Didier Flament, representing ESA.
“The future will see many more navigation satellites in place. So among the most important achievements of the meeting was agreeing on a common SBAS message based on dual-frequency multi-constellation (DFMC) signals from up to four constellations — GPS, Galileo, Compass, and GLONASS — for the post-2020 era.
“Field tests by our Japanese colleagues using GPS and GLONASS combined with MSAS are confirming the improved performance expected from this DFMC concept,” Flament said. “Two solutions have been studied in parallel, one by ESA and one by the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). Both have been compared, with a final single definition to be made before the end of this year. This represents a major step forward towards providing a quasi-global SBAS service.”