Deployment of an SBAS system demonstration in southern Africa
GMV has provided support for SBAS-Africa, a project being primed by the leading satellite-technology firm AVANTI. The project, which began in September 2015, has enabled the deployment of an SBAS demonstrator to show the potential benefits of this technology in southern and eastern Africa.
SBAS improves the positioning accuracy and integrity provided by any Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) such as GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and Beidou. SBAS has already been rolled out in the United States (WAAS) and the European Union (EGNOS), with similar initiatives also underway in other countries like India (GAGAN), Japan (MSAS) and Russia (SDCM).
The SBAS-Africa program is co-funded by the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) through its International Partnerships Space Programme (IPSP); its main contractors are GMV, NSL, Pildo Labs and Thales Alenia Space UK; another crucial collaborator is the South African National Space Agency (SANSA). During the project’s initial phase, ending last April, the demo system provided real SBAS signal coverage throughout the whole of South Africa by means of AVANTI’s geostationary satellite ARTEMIS.
The deployed SBAS demonstrator comprises three main components: firstly, GMV’s in-house processing, correction-generating and integrity-monitoring system magicSBAS, secondly, a network of GNSS monitoring stations deployed throughout the region by NSL, and thirdly the geostationary satellite ARTEMIS, furnished by AVANTI.
Graph 1. Worldwide SBAS Coverage
During November 2015 GMV deployed the magicSBAS system on AVANTI’s facilities at Goonhilly Gateway Earth Station (UK). Once connected to the network of stations deployed in South Africa, magicSBAS generates real time corrections and integrity-monitoring messages for all GPS satellites visible in the region.
Afterwards, in February 2016, GMV was involved in the integration of various subsystems, including a GMV-developed safety monitor, in the ground station of Makarios (Cyprus), from where magicSBAS messages, once transformed into the radiofrequency signal, are sent to the ARTEMIS satellite.
The demonstrator has enabled a series of tests and demos to be carried out for sectors such as air-, sea- and road-transport, agriculture and geomatics. GMV took part in these trials and also in the presentation of the results to the competent South African authorities in the various sectors; this was done in a series of workshops carried out in Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg in April.
Rollout of an SBAS signal in an African country is a feat of special importance in this first demonstration phase, showcasing local authorities and future users the potential benefits of this technology.