About the European GNSS Evolution Programme (EGEP)
What is it?
The European GNSS Evolution Programme studies and develops technologies associated with Europe's twofold contributions to the field of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).
The first of these is ESA's EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) system which within Europe enhances the accuracy of the US Global Positioning System (GPS), and is being prepared to also provide this augmentation service for Russia's Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS).
The second, larger, European contribution to GNSS is the joint ESA-European Commission Galileo satellite programme, which will involve 30 navigation satellites in medium Earth orbit (MEO) to deliver highly accurate navigation data, made available for the first time under civilian rather than military authority. EGNOS is already operational while Galileo is in the course of being constructed, scheduled for completion around 2013.
The programme functions to ensure the ongoing evolution of these systems in terms of technology and performance so they can adequately meet future demands in the short, medium and long terms.
Why is GNSS Evolution needed?
The European GNSS Evolution Programme was defined in recognition of the need for Europe to maintain the technological momentum gained through the EGNOS and Galileo programmes at a time when their developments and definitions, respectively, were coming to an end, and at the same time address emerging challenges to these systems.
Technological obsolescence had to be counteracted by an adequate R&D programme to prepare future technologies, as well as potential evolutions of the systems to meet the trend towards more demanding user services and assuring the strategically important technology independence of Europe.
Another consideration was the international scene for GNSS, which indicated significant initiatives for modernization, completion or deployment of other global or regional GNSS systems - thereby imposing a challenge to the competitiveness and interoperability of EGNOS and Galileo.
How is GNSS Evolution implemented?
Finding that the European GNSS Evolution Programme would fit very well with the European Space Policy and the specific role of ESA in the European GNSS programmes, ESA Participating States subscribed in full for a first period covering 2007-2008. At the ESA Council meeting at Ministerial level in November 2008 they reaffirmed their support for the programme, agreeing a five year programmatic framework from 2007 to 2011.
The Work Plan for 2007-8 initiated 23 activities distributed over the following four categories:
- Assessment of new system architectures
- EGNOS evolutions platform developments
- Technology developments
- Specific R&D on applications to provide feedback to the system evolutions
The approved 2009 Work Plan includes presently 21 additional activities in the following categories:
- System definition, preliminary design and support studies, including activities urgently needed for the preparation of EGNOS Evolutions like the definition of EGNOS V3 and receiver developments.
- Technology Research & Development for Galileo next generation associated with new capabilities addressing the following aspects:
- Advanced payload architecture
- On-board integrity monitoring
- Robust on-board frequency reference subsystem
- Limited support studies
- Accompaniment Activities:
- GNSS performance monitoring.
- Ionospheric monitoring during the solar maximum in 2011.
- Fostering scientific utilization of European GNSS
- Future regional augmentations for high integrity safety critical services (the Future Safety-of-Life Test Bed)
- Usage of GNSS in the High North (the Arctic Test Bed)
- High precision positioning services (the HPPS Test Bed)
- Liability critical services (the LCS Test Bed)
What benefits does GNSS Evolution deliver?
The programme serves to maintain technical European know how, competencies and infrastructures on an international par. It also sustains the competitiveness and innovation capabilities of European industry.
It also represents an investment in the future of EGNOS and Galileo, by enabling technical readiness for upgrades and evolution caused by mission evolution and technology obsolescence.
How to get involved?
The European GNSS Evolution Programme follows the Agency’s rules for industrial involvement in that Invitations to Tender (ITTs) are issued throughout the year through ESA's EMITS website, which is open to all firms located in participating Member States.
Last update: 9 March 2009