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Pocket GPS World :: View topic - Europe's SatNav Service To Be Protected From Solar Storms
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Europe's SatNav Service To Be Protected From Solar Storms

 
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RobBrady
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Joined: Jul 21, 2004
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Location: Chelmsford, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:34 pm    Post subject: Europe's SatNav Service To Be Protected From Solar Storms Reply with quote

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After recent headlines have been dominated by news of solar storms and potential disruption to GPS navigational systems, Europe's satnav system is getting the benefit of additional protection.

According to reports, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) will undergo improvements to make it more robust and resilient, protecting it from the effects of solar storms.

Solar storms affect the upper layers of the atmosphere (ionosphere) which are electrically active and can cause 'scintillations' in the signals transmitted by EGNOS, leading to time delay problems.

As EGNOS is responsible for using satellites to improve the accuracy of GPS signals and is considered one of the cornerstones of Europe's navigational programme it is vital that actions are taken to prevent this.

Thankfully recent solar storms have had minimal effects on GPS devices but whilst these storms may have been labelled as 'duds', future predictions could spell trouble for GPS users. This is because the sun is entering the active phase of its cycle, meaning these storms will become more frequent and this means disruption could become more likely.

EGNOS has been in general service since 2009 and has numerous important uses, including guiding aircraft landings, making these improvements vital.

On top of this, the next generation of the EGNOS service is expected to be released in 2020 meaning that the European Space Agency, the agent in charge of the design and procurement of system changes for EGNOS, will have a lot of work to do over coming years.
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