ASECNA, Thales Alenia Space, NigComSat and Geoflex Continue the Development of SBAS Services for a Broader Range of Business Sectors in Africa

Press release from Thales Alenia Space

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.

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.”

About ASECNA

ASECNA is an international public organisation. Its main mission is to provide air navigation services within the airspace of 16,500,000 square kilometres, divided into six flight information regions (F.I.R) as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ASECNA also develops solutions for airport management, aviation infrastructure studies and construction, equipment maintenance, calibration of air navigation instruments and training for civil aviation staff. Its 18 member states are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

ASECNA – Press contacts:

Harouna Kindo: Email: kindohar@asecna.org
Tel: +221 77 375 36 69 or +221 33 849 67 23

Abdoulaye Faye: Email: fayeabd@asecna.org
Tel: +221 77 649 01 92

About Thales Alenia Space 

Drawing on over 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and cultures, Thales Alenia Space delivers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation, earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments and private industry alike count on Thales Alenia Space to design satellite-based systems that provide anytime, anywhere connections and positioning, monitor our planet, enhance management of its resources, and explore our solar system and beyond. Thales Alenia Space sees space as a new horizon, helping to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of approximately 1.850 billion euros in 2020 and has around 7,700 employees in 10 countries with 17 sites in Europe and a plant in the US. For more information, kindly visit www.thalesaleniaspace.com.

Thales Alenia Space – Press Contacts

Sandrine Bielecki
Tel: +33 (0)4 92 92 70 94
sandrine.bielecki@thalesaleniaspace.com

Catherine des Arcis
Tel: +33(0)6 78 64 63 97
catherine.des-arcis@thalesaleniaspace.com

About NigComSat

Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd (NigComSat) is a company and agency under the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy whose mission is to be the leading satellite operator and service provider in Africa. NigComSat Ltd owns and operates the Nigerian Communications Satellite. The company provides innovative and cutting-edge satellite communications solutions by operating and managing a geostationary communication satellite, NigComSat–1R, built to provide domestic and international satellite services via 2-way satellite communications services across West, Central, South-East Africa, Europe and Asia. The satellite is a hybrid Communication Satellite with a payload for navigation overlay services (NOS) system similar to EGNOS.

NigComSat Ltd – Press Contacts:

Mr. Adamu Idris (GM Corporate Affairs)
Tel: +234 (0)8037861323 aidris@nigcomsat.gov.ng

Dr. Lasisi Salami LAWAL (SBAS Project Manager)
Tel: +234 (0)8055233708 lasisi@nigcomsat.gov.ng

About GEOFLEX

Geoflex is an innovative provider of cloud services, delivering improvements to GPS/GNSS applications to achieve positioning accuracy to within four centimetres on land, at sea and in the air. In addition, the company provides universal hyper-geolocation services for trains, cars, ships, drones, smartphones, etc., in conjunction with the main global players in these areas. Its hyper-geolocation system is based on a unique alliance between a portfolio of patents developed over a dozen years by French space agency CNES and a seasoned team with over 30 years of experience in global navigation satellite systems. Geoflex was founded in 2012 by Romain Legros, a serial entrepreneur and a recognized expert in GNSS. The company is based in France, near Paris.

GEOFLEX – Press contact:

Ludovic Privat, Marketing, Operations and Communications
Tel: +33 6 22 05 61 38, ludovic.privat@geoflex.fr

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