As a follow-up to our earlier story on 16th March, 2018 on Africa’s Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS), Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Ltd on 13th December 2018 signed a Cooperative Agreement with Thales Alenia Space, in Toulouse, France on SBAS Test bed Demonstration to characterize and validate the performance of NIGCOMSAT-1R navigation band payload with service trials and thus creating a common technical stream for a unified and holistic SBAS infrastructure to fill up the hiatus in Augmentation System for African continent and surrounding oceans (Atlantic and Indian).
Thales Alenia Space will leverage on L band payload onboard NIGCOMSAT-1R Satellite, existing ground infrastructure and supply critical equipment SBAS worth about €400,000.00 (Four Hundred Thousand Euros) for the test bed experimentation heralding a potential business opportunities aimed at addressing Aviation and Non-aviation sectors such as Maritime, Survey, Civil Engineering, Agriculture amongst other sectors in Africa.
Thales Alenia Space (TAS) is a Joint Venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%) which also also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ “Space Alliance”. A committed global and foremost satellite manufacturing company, which offers a complete range of services and solutions. TAS architects design and deliver high technology solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures.
TAS is a world leader in the provision of Air Traffic Management (ATM) and the industrial prime contractor for European Augmentation System known as European Geostationary Navigation System (EGNOS), the precursor to Galileo. EGNOS is designed to improve the positioning messages from GNSS system.
NIGCOMSAT Ltd is a satellite communications service provider owned wholly by the Federal Government of Nigeria providing secured communications services in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.
NIGCOMSAT-1R currently managed and operated by NIGCOMSAT Ltd has a hybrid Communication Satellite for satellite communications and navigation band payload for navigation overlay services (NOS) system known as Nigerian Satellite Augmentation System (NSAS) similar to EGNOS.
Head of the NSAS Project, Dr. Lasisi Lawal reiterated that TAS which recently won the South Korean Augmentation Satellite System (KASS) contract based on EGNOS technology will support NIGCOMSAT Ltd to achieve its aim of improving accuracy, reliability, Integrity and Continuity of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) information through Navigation Overlay Service by making differential corrections and then broadcast the integrity messages as an augmented signal of the original Signal in Space (SiS) via NIGCOMSAT-1R L band payload capable of 2nd Generation Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) using Dual Frequency Multi-Constellation (DFMC) for African Continent and the surrounding oceans (Atlantic and Indian).
Top Management staff of NGCOMSAT Ltd comprised of Executive Director, Finance and Administration; Alhaji Muhammed Lema Abubakar, NSAS Project Manager; Dr. Lasisi Lawal, the company’s Senior Legal Manager, Barr. Jachike Ogu led by the Executive Director, Engineering Services, Engr. Kazeem Kolawole Raji, visited the Head Office of Thales Alenia Space in Toulouse, France to finalize the discussions on the Cooperative Agreement, which culminated in the Signing of the Contract/Agreement on Thursday 13th December 2018. NIGCOMSAT four-man delegation also visited the Assembly Integration and Testing (AIT) Complex of Thales Alenia Space among others. There were also several presentations on the capacity of Thales Alenia Space in satellite manufacturing and several technological advances for Very High Throughput Satellite (VHTS). Other possible areas of cooperation were also presented.
In his speech at Thales Alenia Space, NIGCOMSAT Executive Director, Engineering Services, Engr. Kazeem Kolawole Raji who represented MD/CE of NIGCOMSAT Ltd; Abimbola Alale at the signing event stated that this Cooperative Agreement is a platform that will kick-start collaboration between NIGCOMSAT Ltd and Thales Alenia Space towards establishing NIGCOMSAT-1R Navigation Payload for immediate utilization to fill the great hiatus in Augmentation System for Africa and beyond.
On his own part, the Vice President of Observation, Exploration and Navigation Satellite Business Line of Thales Alenia Space, Benoit Broudy, stated that this Cooperative Agreement would open a flood gate to demonstrate both the capacity of NigComSat-1R navigation payload and the capacity of Thales Alenia Space as a leading Navigation Satellite Solution provider and finally create potential business opportunities in Navigation Systems for Africa.
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