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N° 26–1996: Europe provides Satellite Navigation Services

28 June 1996

The European Space Agency, the European Commission and the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol) are jointly developing EGNOS, Europe's augmentation system for satellite navigation. This ECU 150 million project will provide civil GPS or GLONASS users - on land, at sea or airborne - with improved accuracy, integrity and availability. Working together, the three entities are known as the European Tripartite Group (ETG).

Yesterday, the ETG signed leases for the first two navigation transponders that will be used to broadcast EGNOS signals to users. These transponders are being flown by two Inmarsat-III satellites, located at longitudes 64 East (Indian Ocean Region - IOR) and 15.5 West (Atlantic Ocean Region-East - AOR- E).

Together they will cover not only the whole of Europe but Africa, South America and most of Asia. The IOR satellite was launched on 3 April 1996 and has been operational since 12 May. The AOR-E satellite is scheduled for launch in August.

The leases were signed in the presence of the European Commission, EUROCONTROL and INMARSAT, by the European Space Agency, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom, the two European signatories of the Inmarsat operating agreement which had submitted the EGNOS proposal to the Inmarsat Council. The leases run for five years, with a possible five- year extension.

In its final set-up, EGNOS will provide Ranging, Integrity and Wide Area Differential Services: - The Ranging Service will broadcast GPS-like navigation signals to improve overall satellite navigation service availability. For instantaneous determination of his position, a user has to receive signals from four satellites. Neither GPS nor GLONASS can provide this at all times and all locations worldwide. EGNOS will help to fill this gap.

The Ranging Service is planned to start in 1997. The other services will be introduced gradually between 1998 and 2000. EGNOS itself will be composed of:

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