Let’s fly – with EU Space

26 September 2023
Airspace Integration Week Madrid is happening 25 – 28 September and EUSPA will be there highlighting the essential role of the entire EU Space Programme
Airspace Integration Week Madrid is happening 25 – 28 September and EUSPA will be there highlighting the essential role of the entire EU Space Programme

While many of us may dream of flying to space, everyone can fly with space. 

That’s because whenever you catch a flight, your aircraft is likely using a range of space-based technologies for everything from positioning to enabling the most fuel-efficient routes and navigating poor visibility conditions at low altitudes.

In fact, the EU Space Programme has its roots in aviation. EGNOS, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service, was designed for flying. Since its launch in 2010, the programme has been increasing accuracy and integrity and improving accessibility, efficiency, sustainability and safety for operators and pilots at over 420 airports across Europe. 

“From the commercial, regional, general and business aviation sectors to OEMs, airports and the end user – everyone benefits from EGNOS,” says Carmen Aguilera, Head of Section Operational Market Development & Safety Critical Applications at EUSPA

Aguilera will be a featured speaker during Airspace Integration Week Madrid, of which EUSPA is also a partner, speaking about STM, ATM and UTM.

In light of an increasingly congested space, there is a compelling need to act in order to maintain space as a resource for future generations. Space Traffic Management therefore aims at keeping space operations safe, space orbits usable, and space accessible for decades to come while ensuring and further fostering the competitiveness of the EU industry. Dedicated panels on STM took place also including the presentation of EUSPA new responsibility on Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) Front Desk.

Read more: EGNOS makes flying sustainably ‘easy’

Moreover, as Aguilera is quick to note, EGNOS is by no means the only component of the EU Space Programme that benefits aviation. “Galileo, the EU's global navigation satellite system, will soon provide advanced navigation capabilities to the aviation sector, greatly improving the availability and reliability of services,” she explains. 

EGNOS, Galileo and Copernicus open the door to a safe and efficient drone ecosystem 

EGNOS and Galileo differentiators (Authentication and High Accuracy) support efficient and safe drone operations. Commercial receivers with these capabilities are already in the market ready to be used. The integration in a drone platform and the mission, either in the autopilot or payload, may not be evident. Therefore, EUSPA is holding the first Hands on workshop on the integration of EGNOS and Galileo for drone operators. We will work with real receivers and drone models to show you how to use them in operations. No promotional material, just practical tools!

Join us on 26th September at 15h00 at the Spotlight theatre 

While Galileo and EGNOS enable the determination of a precise position anywhere, Copernicus, Europe’s Earth Observation programme, provides information on the Earth’s surface, atmosphere and oceans. For the aviation sector, this means being able to monitor volcanic ash clouds, emissions, terrain, flight procedure development and flight planning.

But where Copernicus really shines is its role in enabling safe drone operations. 

For instance, maps that integrate Earth Observation data can provide drone operators and regulators with insights on population density, allowing them to plan routes that avoid crowded areas. In Europe, regulators can use Copernicus data to help harmonise the way these ground risks are assessed, while developers can use this same data to strategically plan the building of such drone infrastructure as cargo drops, vertiports and charging stations.

 “Copernicus data, working in synergy with the accurate and secure positioning provided by Galileo and EGNOS, will enable an integrated, efficient and well-regulated drone ecosystem that allows operators and businesses to thrive while also ensuring the safety of those on the ground,” concludes Aguilera.   

Read more: EU Space key to enabling a harmonised drone ecosystem

Recognising its immense potential for enabling a harmonised drone ecosystem and complex drone operations, the European Commission’s Drone Strategy 2.0 puts EU Space front and centre. Responsible for the operational management of the EU Space Programme and for ensuring the continuous provision of its services, EUSPA plays a key role in the strategy’s implementation. You can learn more about the strategy and EUSPA’s role here.


Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the EUSPA website (http://www.euspa.europa.eu).

Updated: Sep 26, 2023