Africa launches its own SBAS system
As part of the “SBAS for Africa & Indian Ocean” program, the first-ever African Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) open service recently went live, broadcasted by the Agency for Air Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA). The backbone of the project is the NIGCOMSAT-1R satellite managed by Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd. and supervised by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy of Nigeria. The technology is based on the EGNOS system, the EU’s SBAS which is managed by the European Commission, operated by the European GNSS Agency (GSA), and developed by ESA. Other involved European actors include Thales Alenia Space which created a dedicated system testbed for the project and supports CNES and ASECNA with the SAGAIE network.
By augmenting Galileo and GPS constellations, the service enables enhanced sub-meter accuracy as well as improved signal coverage and reliability. This upgrade of the navigation service is projected to have a considerable positive impact on the African economy, in particular, the aviation industry but also various other sectors such as multimodal transportation and mass-market applications. Yet, in the meantime, the system has to complete extensive trials, with the paramount focus on cooperation with airline partners for demonstrating the value-added of the safety-of-life SBAS system scheduled for 2024. Other noteworthy items on the agenda include the testing of the public warning system and the Precise Point Positioning functionality.