Moltek contracted forproviding a team of engineers based in Toulouse (France) working closely with the Prime Contractor ALCATEL-ALENIA-SPACE. The MOLTEK team is providing specialist engineering and validation services within the EGNOS European project.
This project aims to improve the accuracy of the navigational signal coming from the GPS and the GLONASS satellite constellations. The objective is to offer to the European civil aviation authorities the capacity of navigation with safety, integrity and very high precision. In the future, this system will be used in connection with the upcoming GALILEO European navigation satellite constellation.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is the procurement authority on behalf of a European Tripartite Group (ETG), of which the European Commission and EUROCONTROL are also members.
EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) is Europe's first operational satellite navigation system, to improve the positioning services currently offered by the U.S. GPS and Russian GLONASS constellations. It comprises a network of around 40 ground stations distributed throughout Europe to record, adjust and improve data from the American GPS system. The modified signals are then relayed by geostationary satellites to the receivers of system users. In contrast to the 15 to 20 meters accuracy offered by GPS, the European system is accurate to better than 2 meters, and unlike GPS, a military system, the European version provides guaranteed signal quality.
The EGNOS system will be broadcasting a GPS type signal over Europe with improved information of precision and integrity of the GPS/GLONASS constellations so that all the navigation receivers computes their position in a very precise manner and without risk of error. EGNOS will be used for the en-route phases, and non precision approach (category 1).
EGNOS will permit civil aviation industries to improve a large part of their traditional navigation infrastructure (Beacon, etc) and permit the optimisation of air space, the time of flight, fuel costs, fleet management and improve the overall operational safety in Europe. EGNOS will be equally adaptable to the needs of naval and terrestrial transport.
EGNOS will deliver navigation with enhanced accuracy, continuity and integrity, covering the areas of Europe, Africa and parts of Russia. It will be interoperable with the equivalent systems in course of development in the USA (WAAS) and Japan (MSAS).
EGNOS, which is currently in pre-operational service, is Europeís first step in satellite navigation as it prepares for Galileo, which will be the first civilian navigation system, with a constellation of 30 satellites.