EGNOS successfully integrates the first GPS III satellites

[source – European GNSS Agency –]

Introduction of the first GPS III satellites into EGNOS services was successfully achieved on 27 July 2020, following the initiation by GPS of a transition from its “GPS Block II” satellites to its new generation “GPS Block III” satellites.

The GPS operational constellation started in 2020 to migrate from GPS II satellites to the new generation GPS III satellites. Through cooperation exchanges with the US, the European Commission and the European GNSS Agency (GSA) obtained assurance on the “backward compatibility” of the GPS III satellites with regard to GPS II, and in particular concerning their failure characteristics.

Step-wise approach 

Based on this, the GSA developed a step-wise approach to accelerate the introduction of GPS-III into the EGNOS system, overwriting the initial plan for GPS III system qualification within EGNOS 242B System release development.

As a first step, the GSA implemented a fast-track process to be as quick as possible while staying safe and respectful of the roles and obligations of the Service Provider and of the Product manufacturer.

Next steps

In the short term, a few more GPS III satellites are expected to be put into operation by the US. In fact, a third GPS-III satellite has already been launched on 30 June 2020 and is planned to be commissioned in August 2020, while a fourth GPS-III is planned to be launched in 30 Sept 2020.

The GSA is currently planning to extend its fast-track process in order to introduce these additional GPS III satellites into operations, until the delivery and entry into service of the next major System release (ESR 242A) in 2021 which will be also updated to GPS III.

[source – European GNSS Agency –]

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