Satmex 9 Satellite to Host FAA Payload Enhancing Aviation Safety

Satmex 8 satellite SSL

Satmex 8 satellite. Photo: SSL

[Via Satellite 02-26-2014] Satmex, owned by Eutelsat Communications, has signed an agreement with Raytheon and Boeing to enable the Boeing-built all-electric propulsion Satmex 9 satellite to carry a hosted payload that will allow the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to enhance aviation safety. This payload is the first in a series of Wide-Area Augmentation System (WAAS) commercial space missions.

SpaceX is scheduled to launch the Satmex 9 in the second half of 2015. The satellite will be co-positioned at 117 degrees west with Satmex 8, which will provide expanded capacity across more than 45 nations and territories in the Americas.

This commissioning of a payload from Boeing follows an agreement with Raytheon for a WAAS payload to enhance the availability and accuracy of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals for the FAA. The payload will provide coverage to reference stations in the continental U.S., Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Alaska, refining GPS signal accuracy from 100 to seven meters.

Commercial airline and general aviation pilots will be able to use this information for more direct flight plans and approaches to airports and remote landing sites. The WAAS order is the first to be included on one of Boeing’s all-electric satellites and the sixth for Boeing’s next-gen hosted payload since 2009.

“The Satmex 9 satellite will be a key plank of our strategy to increase resources for video and data applications in Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Patricio Northland, CEO of Satmex.

  • -=Mike=-

    Is this enhansement also going to help improve accuracy and siganal availability for consumer GPS devices?

    • Steve Neal

      Nope, only WAAS equipped aircraft will achieve greater precision and less immediate reliance on the generally weak GPS constellation timing signals. Existing GPS receivers will not even detect current or future WAAS communications.

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