Telespazio UK awarded ESA contract for the development of a system utilising Aviation Navigation aids for the robust navigation of Unmanned Air Vehicles

24 April 2023

Telespazio UK, a subsidiary of Telespazio (a 67/33% joint venture between Leonardo and Thales), has been awarded a €600,000 contract by ESA, the European Space Agency. As part of the ESA’s Navigation Innovation and Support Programme (NavISP), Telespazio UK is excited to announce that it has been awarded the contract for the development of a “Robust Navigation of Airborne Autonomous Systems with Carrier Phase of ARNS Signals” (RAASPAS). Telespazio UK is the prime contractor to ESA for the project and will be working with sub-contractor, Cranfield University.

Trusted Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) solutions must be developed to help tackle the challenges that congested airspace brings, such as the safety of autonomous flight in populated areas or avoiding inflight collisions. Such systems require reliable position and route information for decision making and for communicating information to an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV), in a timely manner and with reliability.

The RAASPAS project aims to develop innovative and reliable Alternative PNT concepts based on Aeronautical Radionavigation Service (ARNS) signals and telecommunication Signals-of-Opportunity (SOOP) hybridised with traditional navigation sensors, providing UAV users with a positioning solution and an integrity measure, complementary to Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS).

Telespazio UK will exploit the strong alliance and experience of the partnership with Cranfield University to investigate and develop new algorithms, software and hardware, to evolve the RAASPAS concept to a viable component of resilient PNT for UAVs in an ever-increasing safety-critical and crowded environment.

Mark Hewer, Telespazio UK CEO, said: “RAASPAS presents a great opportunity for us to be part of this important ESA project which will build on the work that has already been done within the Alternative-PNT arena. We are pleased to be leading such a strong team and look forward to developing a proof-of-concept that will help provide position resiliency in unmanned air systems, potentially making a difference to the safety factors of UAV operations.”

Mr. Stefano Binda, ESA NAVISP Element 1 Program Manager, said: “ESA is very pleased to award this contract, under its NAVISP programme, to Telespazio UK and its sub-contractors. Telespazio has a great deal of experience working on PNT and the provision of alternative and complementary solutions to GNSS. We look forward to working with Telespazio UK and its sub-contractors on this important project for the resilience of PNT solutions for autonomy.”


The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency.