Raytheon has been awarded a $103 million contract from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to develop a more accurate GPS.
Raytheon will develop a payload system based in space on a geostationary Earth orbit satellite. With this new technology, it will increase the accuracy of the system in national airspace significantly. Older versions were accurate to about 100 meters, and with their new system it will be reduced to just two meters. Essentially, instead of saying they are able to locate a football field, they are reducing it to almost the exact yard line.
The new GPS will be a major component of the FAA’s Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), and it allows the GPS to be more available and more accurate for commercial and general aviation aircraft.
"The WAAS system is a critical component to ensuring our national airspace remains safe, especially with the increased volume of air traffic,” said Michael Espinola, Raytheon air traffic systems managing director. “Raytheon's 18 years of collaboration with the FAA continues to deliver accurate, high-integrity GPS navigation technologies to all pilots within the national airspace."
WAAS system allows for more direct flight routing, and helps out with landing by providing more accurate approaches – even finding access to unimproved airports and remote landing sites without having to rely on infrastructures on the ground.
The GEO 6 works by receiving signals from the ground station and transmitting it to the aircraft. The payload can be expected to launch sometime in the middle of 2017, and will start its ten-year operational phase in 2019.
Raytheon has 61,000 employees worldwide, and reported a revenue of $23 billion last year. They are a leader in defense, security, electronics, intelligence systems, and much more. Their new GPS shows how they are always leading the pack with their innovation.
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