The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) - a joint project of the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Commission and Eurocontrol - is the first pan-European satellite navigation system with a high accuracy geolocation feature (less than 3m.), which improves GPS (Global Positioning System) accuracy. The system provides differential correction messages and integrity data for the satellites which are in view of a monitoring stations network.
Launched in 2009, EGNOS consists of three geostationary satellites and a network of ground stations and is the precursor to Galileo, the full global satellite navigation system under development in Europe. The EGNOS Safety of Life service was officially declared available for aviation on March 2011. Space-based navigation signals have become usable for the safety-critical task of guiding aircraft during landing approaches. Other fields of use of EGNOS services are relevant to agriculture, for example for high-precision spraying of fertilizers, and transport, with automatic road tolling.
EGNOS-enabled procedures are already in use in France, the UK, Italy and Germany. The EGNOS Service Area includes all European countries and has the system-inherent capability to be extended to other regions, such as North Africa.
Leonardo participates in the programme through its joint ventures Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio. Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor, in charge of producing this navigation overlay system. The company has guided a consortium of 50 businesses in 16 countries and has provided the fundamental parts for space and ground systems.
For EGNOS, Telespazio performs system maintenance, telecommunications and logistics services, also developing new services in various public and private sectors (road, rail, maritime). For several years, Telespazio has participated in projects in the field of navigation. Among these, the SENECA programme, developed by ASI and ENAV, to facilitate the dissemination of satellite navigation based on EGNOS in the Italian air traffic sector, and MEDUSA, a European programme that aims to introduce such services in the countries of the Mediterranean basin.