Belgium: Industry Committee Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) approved new legislation to ensure that Europe”s two satellite navigation systems — Galileo, the European GPS system, and the EGNOS programmes for improving GPS signal quality — can be funded and operated from 2014 to 2020.
The European Commission has earmarked EUR 7.9 billion to complete the EU”s satellite navigation infrastructure over the seven-year period. MEPs call in amendments to the draft legislation for more of the new services to be offered free of charge. The Public Regulated Service, which will ensure, from 2014, that key services such as police and ambulance services continue to operate in times of crisis, must be free, they say. So must the Safety of Life Service, a European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) program, which will be fully available later and will make air navigation safer.
Two other Galileo services will be available from 2014: the Open Service, which will be accessible free of charge and will provide positioning, velocity and timing information, useful for example, in mapping, and the Search-and-Rescue Service, for use in emergencies such as the loss of a sailor at sea. The Commercial Service, allowing commercial applications of the technology, will be available later.
Galileo is the EU”s own, independent, civilian, global satellite navigation system. Two satellites were launched at the end of 2011 to pave the way for Galileo”s services to be fully operational from 2014.
When Galileo is fully operational, there will be 30 satellites in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) at an altitude of 23,222 kilometres.
EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service, acts as an enhancement to the US-based GPS system for safety-critical applications in aviation and marine environments. Its Safety-of-Life Service designed to enhance aviation safety has been operational since March 2011. Europeans have been benefiting from improved GPS signals in Europe provided by EGNOS since 1 October 2009.