The Agency for Air Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA), Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd. (NIGCOMSAT), and Thales Alenia Space are working together to accelerate the development of additional satellite services provided by ASECNA’s A-SBAS (Satellite-Based Augmentation System) for Africa and the Indian Ocean to deliver precise point positioning (PPP, CNES/Geoflex) and danger warnings for a wide range of applications in Africa.
According to africanews.space, via the NigComSat-1R satellite, the partners successfully demonstrated the additional services provided by A-SBAS on July 7 and 8, 2021, using the SBAS signal they have broadcast over the Africa & Indian Ocean (AFI) region since September 2020 to provide the first SBAS open service in this region. Other flight demonstrations were previously carried out in January 2021 in Lomé and in June in Douala.
The first demonstration of the special urgent situation warning service via satellite showed the system’s ability to broadcast a warning message through the A-SBAS signal to mobile phones without requiring a terrestrial network. This service sends a message to the populations concerned, providing information on the type of danger and instructions to be followed.
The second demonstration entailed the transmission of GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) corrections based on CNES/Geoflex PPS technology using the A-SBAS signal. This approach showed the system’s ability to achieve positioning accuracy within centimetres across the entire African continent.
A world first, this satellite service paves the way for applications in a broad range of sectors, including precision agriculture, land and maritime transport, rail safety, drone navigation, mapping and surveying.
A seminar was also organized on July 6, 7 and 9 in Brazzaville to raise awareness of SBAS services in Africa. It was organized in conjunction with EGNOS-Africa JPO (Joint Program Office), and about 100 national and international experts were in attendance.
“The demo in Brazaville, Congo is in line with our desire to bring to the fore the numerous disruptive applications of SBAS technology utilizing precise point positioning and warning alerts in a digitalized economy across many sectors, especially in non-aviation sectors,” declared Dr Abimbola Alale, MD/CEO of NigComSat Ltd.
“It follows the policy direction of the Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, in the utilization of NIGCOMSAT-1R for a digitalized economy for sustainable development in the continent.”
“Thales Alenia Space is the ideal partner to support Africa’s efforts to implement its own SBAS system, based on our proven expertise in developing SBAS systems in Europe (EGNOS) and South Korea (KASS),” said Benoit Broudy, vice president, Navigation Business at Thales Alenia Space.
“This latest demonstration proved the ability of SBAS to transmit a warning about an imminent danger to the populations concerned and thus enhance their safety. Several sectors, including agriculture and transport, will benefit from these precise satellite positioning services, accurate to within centimetres – and we have already proven their effectiveness. This latest success will help accelerate the rollout of SBAS and associated services in Africa.”
Mohamed Moussa, Director General of ASECNA, said, “I’m proud that ASECNA was able to demonstrate the utility and efficiency of SBAS services on our continent for all business sectors and not just air transport. The upcoming deployment of the ‘SBAS for Africa & Indian Ocean’ system, a navigation and positioning solution for Africa and by Africa, will make a significant contribution to our continent economic and social development.”