The availability of the EGNOS test signal was extended last month when Inmarsat's Indian Ocean Region (IOR) satellite began broadcasting it over a large area including Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Russia, central Asia and India. Inmarsat's Atlantic Ocean Region East (AOR-East) satellite has been broadcasting the signal over a wide area of Western Europe for the past year. As well as extending signal coverage, the new availability allows users to receive signals from two different directions providing line-of-sight diversity and extra redundancy.
Broadcasting from the IOR has been possible thanks to the interconnection with the Mediterranean Test Bed (MTB), which has been developed jointly by ENAV, the Italian air traffic service provider, and Telespazio. This test bed consists of monitoring stations, which collect integrity data on US global positioning satellites (GPS), and a station in Fucino, Italy which transmits a signal modulated with the integrity data to the IOR satellite. When additional monitoring stations come on line, signal availability will be further extended.
The EGNOS System Test Bed (ESTB) provides a unique opportunity for validating new application developments in a realistic environment, in preparation not only for EGNOS operation, due from 2003, but also for future GALILEO services. The ESTB can be used by any company or organisation with an interest in testing or promoting EGNOS and navigation applications in general.