The framework agreement was signed in Paris last week at ESA’s offices by Louis Bakienon, Director of the ASECNA SBAS Programme, and Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director-General.
The agreement focuses on the next phase of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) deployment, which includes the use of a Satellite-based Augmentation System (SBAS) across a service region of more than 16.5m sq. km.
The augmentation project will also feature ground reference stations, mission control centers, and uplink stations.
ESA will provide technical support to ASECNA based on Europe’s European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) technology and using the Galileo satellites. The system’s initial operational capabilities are projected to enter into service in 2025.
Speaking about the deal, ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher said, “I welcome this exciting new partnership with Africa. International cooperation has always been an ESA priority; space technology has the potential to improve everyone’s lives, and by working together we get to make that happen. EGNOS technology designed, developed, and demonstrated in Europe will have its clear safety, environmental and economic benefits extended to African airports, airlines, and passengers.”
ASECNA Director-General Mohamed Moussa added, “The implementation of satellite-based augmentation infrastructure will represent a huge step forward towards the unification of the African airspace. Airspace users will benefit across the continent from the most advanced navigation services and will significantly improve the safety and efficiency of their operations, and reduce their environmental impact. This service is sufficiently accurate and reliable to guide aircraft for critical flight operations and will also be valuable across many other important sectors, such as land and maritime transport, precision agriculture, drone navigation, mapping, and surveying.”
ASECNA Chairman of the Board Jean Lamy commented on the agreement by noting that, “this program is part of the Africa-EU strategic partnership on satellite navigation. It provides a solution for the implementation of the navigation and positioning component of the Space Policy of the African Union. It will support the development of a continuum airspace purpose of the single Sky for Africa Project (CUPA Project) developed by ASECNA and which contributes to the African Union’s Single Air Transport Market initiative (SAATM).”
ASECNA provides air navigation services within the airspace of 16.5m sq. km, divided into six flight information regions covering its Member States Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, Côte dIvoire, France, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad, and Togo.