The space industry in the United Kingdom is a success story; it is currently valued at roughly $15.64 billion (£12 billion) per year and might be worth $52.15 billion (£40 billion) per year by the year 2030 if the nation meets its ambitious growth targets. To do this, the United Kingdom will need to maintain attracting top talent. According to Patrick Wood, who is the Surrey Satellites Technology Limited’s Chief Executive Officer (SSTL), a small satellite maker, this is a serious worry. He claims that people are on his mind because SSTL employs people from all across the world.
Inmarsat announced on June 8 that it has begun transmitting a navigation signal trial from an outdated satellite to assist the United Kingdom in replacing space-based capabilities lost as a result of Brexit.
The British satellite provider is spearheading a group of local firms in establishing an alternative to the EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service), which Europe utilizes to supplement and enhance GPS solutions in the region.
As a result of the United Kingdom’s 2016 vote to exit the European Union, the UK lost connectivity to EGNOS satellites as well as ground stations last summer. This includes the EGNOS SoL (Safety-of-Life) service, which allows airplanes to perform high-precision landing approaches by employing fewer expensive ground-based navigation aids.
As a result of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (EU), the nation is no longer a part of Galileo, Europe’s GNSS (global satellite navigation system), which is expected to acquire full operational capacity this year.
Following Brexit, the British government has stated that it plans to build a variety of autonomous space-based capabilities, which is in line with its objective to grow the country’s domestic space industry.
As per the Inmarsat, which is a transponder on the I-3 F5 satellite has been converted to broadcast a PNT (positioning, navigation, and timing) signal that will serve as a test bed for substituting EGNOS SoL services.
The signal will assist British companies and authorities in validating ambitions for an independent UKSBAS (UK Space-Based Augmentation System) to be able to supplement GPS, according to the operator.
UKSBAS will employ an overlay signal to enhance services for satellite navigation customers in UK airspace and waterways, enhancing positioning precision to several centimeters relative to the few meters given by regular GPS alone.
Despite the fact that the I-3 F5 was deployed in the year 1998 to offer connectivity between the Atlantic Ocean and the United Kingdom, Matthew Knowles, who is the Inmarsat spokesperson said the satellite is projected to have sufficient fuel to continue working even after the maiden phase of the UKSBAS tests concludes in July.
The signal uplink for the testing is provided from Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall, England. GMV NSL, a satellite navigation specialist based in the United Kingdom and owned by Spanish technology company GMV, is producing navigational data from signal.
The firms received roughly $1.5 million from the United Kingdom Space Agency last year, through the European Space Agency’s NAVISP (Navigation Innovation and Support Programme), to perform the first part of the experiments, according to Knowles.