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European Space Week 2018

The European Commission and European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency organised this year’s Space Week in Marseille, France on 3–6 December 2018. ERA was invited to chair the civil airspace user consultation platform and present the results during the user consultation plenary on the second day.

European Space Week is an annual event highlighting the achievements, benefits and ambitions of the European space programme: Copernicus - the EU’s Earth Observation programme, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) - Europe's regional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) and Galileo - a state-of-the-art system providing improved positioning and timing information, the EU equivalent of US GPS. Several ERA members have benefitted from grants to enable EGNOS applications and ERA was proud to represent our members as well as the entire civil airspace user community by chairing the civil airspace user consultation platform at this year’s event.

The objective of the user consultation was to discuss and highlight the main trends in the market, based in part on regulatory requirements but also market forces. There are clear benefits arising from the adoption of communication, navigation and surveillance enablers through movement from the ground solutions to space-based solutions. The main points discussed included navigation. LPV implementation is making good progress with more than 550 EGNOS-based approaches deployed in Europe and LPV planned for everywhere by 2024, however a call was made for operators and OEMs to deliver new models with SBAS capability.           

The Surveillance/ADS-B Out mandate was discussed at length: the existing mandate calls for ground-based infrastructure deployment, however a space-based solution is a reality today and could provide a more cost-effective solution if a sensible charging mechanism were found.  Airspace users acknowledged the EGNOS benefits, such as potentially lower separation, avoiding RAIM holes, and even if not mandated ANSPs and airspace users look for an improved business case by rationalising ground infrastructure and demand high performance. ADS-B is the cornerstone of the future surveillance infrastructure and to that end, all agreed that a co-ordinated deployment is needed, and harmonised equipage for LPV and ADS-B would be beneficial especially if such solutions could attract grants and incentivisation.

The event attracted many hundreds of participants across the week and offered an ideal opportunity for representatives from a multitude of sectors to learn about the advances in space-based technology as well as offer opinion and debate future products and services. The main message received was that European space services are here today and available for use!

For more information about EU Space Week, EGNOS or surveillance, performance, interoperability, please contact russell.dudley@eraa.org