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CNES awards Thales Alenia Space contract to develop DFMC SBAS prototype

Thales Alenia Space has been awarded a contract by the French Space Agency (Centre national d'études spatiales: CNES) to develop a dual-frequency multi-constellation (DFMC) satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) prototype, the company announced on 7 February.

The new system will be developed in a similar framework to the next generation of SBAS, such as the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS).

A Thales Alenia Space correspondent told Janes that the prototype being developed will be agnostic with current operational SBAS, and the system could therefore be integrated into or help shape next-generation SBAS, such as the EGNOS. The correspondent added that the programme will run for more than two years, with a signal-in-space due in one-and-a-half years.

The company declined to comment on the estimated value of the contract.

“SBAS improves the accuracy, reliability, and performance of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) information by correcting signal measurement errors and by providing information about the accuracy, integrity, continuity, and availability of its signals,” said the European Union Agency for the Space Programme.

According to the company, the prototype will support both the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Galileo system by utilising the transmission of signals from multiple frequencies, thereby enhancing the performance, reliability, and accuracy of positioning information.

Once developed, the prototype will be deployed and tested operationally, using a geostationary satellite, said the company. Performance will be analysed based on international standards, according to the following criteria, accuracy, availability, continuity, and service integrity.

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