The European Tripartite Group, (ESA – EC – EUROCONTROL) has implemented, via the
EGNOS project, the European contribution to the first generation of Global Navigation
Satellite System (GNSS-1). The European Space Agency (ESA) has been in charge of the
system design, development and qualification of an Advanced Operational Capability (AOC)
of the EGNOS system (also known as EGNOS V1).
In summer 2005, EGNOS has reached two major program milestones through the formal
technical qualification process (known as ORR, Operational Readiness Review) and the start
of its initial operations. These two events mark a successful completion of more than 8 years
of intensive work by ESA and European industry.
In parallel to the start of EGNOS operations, EGNOS is planning a modernization plan to
cope with GPS modernization, service extension, standard evolutions and the anticipation of
some future Galileo missions. In this context, the availability of free bandwidth enables
systems like EGNOS to broadcast additional communication messages. These messages could
be, the broadcast of
- Warnings or instructions on the occurrence of natural disasters, calamities, dangers for the safety of life within areas with poor telecommunication infrastructure
- Search and Rescue Return Link Messages.
- Warnings or instructions on limitations in the use of SBAS for specific applications (e.g. aviation)
- Other uses.
We refer to these, in general, as the Communication Function of EGNOS. Of these, this paper
will focus mainly on the first two. The ESA ALIVE concept, (Alert interface via EGNOS) is
concerned with the provision of early warning messages to citizens or governmental/local
authorities in the event of a major event or disaster. The authors consider the ESA ALIVE a
meaningful and viable concept, which may be implemented in a reasonable short time frame,
contributing to save lives in the event of disasters.