A Leidos-led consortium comprising Intelsat General (IGC) has secured a new task order from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the development and operation of a satellite-based payload system that supports improved aircraft navigation.
The payload will be designed to facilitate precision approaches of aircraft to airports without dependence on ground-based infrastructure.
The Geostationary Earth Satellite (GEO) 7 payload will also form the FAA’s Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which corrects and improves the information provided by Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites to give commercial and civilian pilots a precise approach and departure guidance.
Representing the seventh payload delivering a continuous signal in space across the neighbouring US and Alaska, GEO 7 is set to boost the FAA’s ongoing effort to replenish and sustain the WAAS constellation, which has been providing safety improvements to US national airspace since 2003.
Under the latest order, IGC will design, develop and host the WAAS GEO 7 payload and integrate it into a new Intelsat Galaxy 30 satellite currently under development by Orbital ATK.
Scheduled to be launched by the first half of 2020, the Galaxy 30 satellite will be positioned at a 125° west altitude.
Throughout the project’s ten-year operational phase, IGC will also provide ground uplink services to the payload through Intelsat’s teleport antennas in Napa, California, US, in addition to operations and maintenance services.
The task order involves a four-year development phase.
In addition, IGC is expected to host a similar WAAS payload (GEO 3) on Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 satellite.
IGC is a fully owned subsidiary of Intelsat, which provides broadcast services across the globe.