Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) to supply a satellite navigation system known as the Korea Augmentation Satellite System (KASS). This project has been strongly supported in particular by the European Commission, the European GNSS Agency (GSA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and CNES.

KARI, on behalf of the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT), will receive the KASS System relying on the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS) developed by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor for the European Commission, with ESA as the contracting authority. The EGNOS system has been operating in Europe since 2009 for Safety of Life (SoL) services.

KASS will enhance the positioning performance provided by the current satellite navigation system GPS and with evolution for the future Glonass and Galileo systems. KASS will add value by ensuring the integrity, availability and guaranteed continuity of services, while also improving positioning accuracy to within a meter.

South Korea will initially be using KASS to provide aeronautical applications, including Safety of Life services so that it can be used during different flight phases, especially landings. It will eventually extend these services to other applications, including maritime, road and rail.

Thales Alenia Space’s contract with KARI concerns the supply of the ground infrastructure. It will initially operate via a relay provided by an existing geostationary satellite, and it will be interoperable with other Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) worldwide, which guarantee air traffic safety when planes move between different zones. KARI and Thales Alenia Space will be applying an approach based on partnership, which means that an integrated French-Korean team will be in charge of the project under Thales Alenia Space’s responsibility.

Jean Loïc Galle, President and Chief Executive Officer of Thales Alenia Space said, “We are drawing on 20 years of experience to help the Korean space agency, and allow government bodies in the country to develop applications that will improve its people’s comfort and safety for all types of transportation.”

“This contract will contribute to reinforce the trust between Korea Aerospace Research Institute and Thales Alenia Space and to the successful KASS programme. In celebration of the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relationship between France and the Republic of Korea, the national relationship between the two countries will be undoubtedly strengthened by co-developing the Korea Augmentation Satellite System,” added Dr. Gi Wook Nam, Director of KASS Programme Office.