Raytheon’s GEO 6 payload launched into space


The Raytheon GEO 6 payload has been launched into space to conduct a 12-year mission.

It was hosted on the new SES-15 satellite, which was recently launched by an Arianespace Soyuz rocket from Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.

During its mission, GEO 6 will support the US Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which is designed to improve the reliability and accuracy of GPS signals for directing air travel.

“This latest payload launch is the next step in our journey with the FAA to bolster navigation safety and efficiency for commercial and general aviation.”

The WAAS currently helps commercial, business and general aviation pilots with more direct flight paths, greater runway capability and precision approaches to airports and remote landing sites without relying on local ground-based landing systems.

The GEO 6 was developed as part of a $103m contract awarded by the FAA in 2015.

Raytheon intelligence, information and services transportation and support services vice-president Bob Delorge said: “This latest payload launch is the next step in our journey with the FAA to bolster navigation safety and efficiency for commercial and general aviation.”

Last June, Raytheon launched the WAAS GEO 5, which was recently adopted by the FAA for integration into the operational WAAS system.

Both the WAAS GEO 5 and GEO 6 payloads were launched to replace ageing satellites and improve GPS precision for the FAA.

The WAAS increases GPS accuracy from 10m to 2m, and supports nearly all of the airspace in the US.