A GPS navigation payload Raytheon built for the Federal Aviation Administration‘s Wide Area Augmentation System was launched aboard a SpaceX-built Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday.
Raytheon said Wednesday the WAAS GEO 5 payload is designed to support air navigation of commercial airline and general aviation pilots over a 12-year period.
“Extremely accurate navigation technologies make this system a critical resource to keep our national airspace safe,” noted Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon’s intelligence, information and services business.
“The launch is a real milestone, as Raytheon and the FAA work to improve the safety and efficiency of air travel,” Wajsgras added.
RGNext, a joint venture of Raytheon and General Dynamics‘ information technology unit, managed the launch of the EUTELSAT 117 West B geostationary satellite that carried the WAAS GEO 5.
The payload is scheduled to start its 10-year service phase in 2018.
Raytheon is also contracted to build an additional WAAS GEO payload that FAA aims to launch in the second quarter of 2017.
The company designed and built WAAS to help guide airplanes through direct flight paths, runways and remote landing sites without support from local ground-based landing systems.