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Raytheon to Improve GPS Accuracy for Safer Air Travel

By | May 23, 2017
      SES 15 payload fairing. Photo: Arianespace.

      SES 15 payload fairing. Photo: Arianespace.

      With the launch of SES’ SES 15 satellite, Raytheon’s GEO 6 payload has reached orbit for its 12-year mission. It is the latest payload to support the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which enhances the reliability and accuracy of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals for directing air travel.

      According to Raytheon, the payload is a key element of WAAS, which offers commercial, business, and general aviation pilots more direct flight paths, greater runway capability, and precision approaches to airports and remote landing sites without dependence on local ground-based landing systems.

      In June 2016, Raytheon launched WAAS GEO 5, which the FAA recently accepted integration into the operational WAAS system. Both WAAS GEO 5 and GEO 6 were launched to replace aging satellites and enhance GPS precision for the FAA. WAAS increases GPS accuracy from 10 meters to approximately 2 meters and supports nearly all of the national airspace.

      Arianespace successfully launched the SES 15 satellite from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle.