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ESA and power grids

illustration courtesy of Freepik

An ESA-backed project is harnessing satellite navigation to insert an intelligent sense of place and time to power grids, to provide early warning of potentially dangerous electricity network failures.

Four years ago an apparent fire from nowhere forced the evacuation of 5,000 people from central London. Thick black smoke and choking fumes emerged from manhole covers as power was cut off to the Holborn neighbourhood. The local London Underground station was shuttered, along with West End theatres and law courts.

This project is supported through ESA’s Navigation Innovation and Support Programme (NAVISP), applying ESA’s hard-won expertise from Galileo and Europe’s EGNOS satellite augmentation system to new satellite navigation and – more widely – positioning, navigation and timing challenges.