Pacific PNT: GNSS, SBAS Updates

April 24, 2013  - By

The status of world GNSS, and augmentation systems in the Pacific region, highlighted the policy session of the Institute of Navigtion Pacific PNT Conference being held this week in Honolulu, Hawaii. Here are a few highlights:

BeiDou-Logo-150x142BeiDou. Construction of the second phase of BeiDou has been completed; further launches for the third phase – constellation completion – are on hold until tests of the existing 14-satellite constellation are complete, according to Xiancheng Ding, Senior Advisor, China Satellite Navigation Office. As of December 27, 2012, BeiDou achieved full operational capability for most of the Asia-Pacific region. The full constellation is now expected to be completed by 2020.

Other accomplishments include releasing the BeiDou Interface Control Document and manufacture of BeiDou chips for end-user applications. By the end of June, some manufacturers will release BeiDou chips in China, Ding said.

Also in December, BeiDou introduced a new logo (at right).

Yuanxi Yang (China National Administration of GNSS and Applications) presented statistics showing that BeiDou+GPS provides greater accuracy than GPS alone. For instance, the RMS of BeiDou+GPS kinematic positioning by using differential carrier phase is about 20 percent better than that of GPS alone, Yang said.

By itself, existing BeiDou constellation system accuracy is better than 10 meters, timing better than 20 nanoseconds, and velocity accuracy is better than 0.2 meters/second.

In all, BeiDou is composed of 14 satellites: five GEO, five IGSO, and four MEO. The full constellation (by 2020)  will consist of 35 satellites: 5 GEO and 30 non-GEO (a mixture of MEO and IGSO satellites).

GPS. Keynote speaker David A. Turner (U.S. Department of State) shared his time with surprise GLONASS speaker Sergey Revnivykh (International Committee on GNSS, ICG). In his GNSS Policy and Program Update, Turner provided the dates by which three new civil signals will be on 24 GPS satellites.

  • The L2C signal is a developmental signal broadcasting from 10 GPS Satellites. It began launching in 2005 with GPS Block IIR(M) satellites, and is expected to be available on 24 satellites around 2018.
  • The L5 signal is a developmental signal broadcasting from three GPS satellites. It began launching in 2010 with Block IIF satellites, and is expected to be available on 24 GPS satellites around 2021.
  • The L1C signal begins launching in 2015 with GPS III; available on 24 GPS satellites around 2026.

“We have an increasing number of signals, increasing capability, and increasing level of service as we continue to evolve the constellation,” Turner said.

GLONASS. The next GLONASS satellite will be launched this Friday, April 26, Revnivykh said. This will be a GLONASS-M satellite, number 47. The first launch of a new generation GLONASS K satellite is scheduled for 2015.

Revnivykh stressed GLONASS’ role as a global utility. “We consider international cooperation is essential for all GNSS, and we consider GLONASS an essential part of the international multi-GNSS system,” he said. He stressed the importance of compatibility and interoperability as key to this policy.

In 2012, GLONASS performed with an average accuracy better than formally required, he said. GLONASS is in worldwide use, and positioning has improved by a factor of 10, from 35 meters to about 3 meters since the first satellites were launched. Using both GPS + GLONASS provides 1.5 times better high-precision measurements, Revnivykh said.

The new GLONASS program for 2020 for GLONASS sustainment, development, and use includes GLONASS M, K1, and K2 satellites; the positioning accuracy objective is to go from the current 2.8 meters to 0.6 meters.

Aviation. Chris Hegarty (MITRE) presented an FAA Navigation Programs Overview on behalf of the scheduled speaker Deborah Lawrence (FAA) who was unable to attend. He noted that United Airlines has begun GBAS operations in Houston.

In answer to a funding question, he said, “The sequestration is not expected to have a positive effect on schedule, but the presented timeline for APNT is the FAA’s current best estimate. Congress has some tough decisions before them, and I wouldn’t want to speculate on potential schedule impacts. In the words of Yogi Berra, predicting is hard, especially when it involves the future.”

Korean SBAS. Changdon Kee (Seoul National University) shared plans for a Korean SBAS. In South Korea, LPV availability is 49.4% compared to 90.6% in Japan. “Korea needs its own system,” Kee said.

Phase 3 of the SBAS development could start by the end of September, depending on funding. It will include open service multifunctional GEO satellites interoperable with other SBASs. A pseudolite demonstration system will be completed in 2014, clearing the way for the beginning of Phase 3.

In all, the system will include five reference stations, two master stations, two ground uplink stations, and two GEO satellites (the main GEO by 2018 and a backup by 2020).

The Korean SBAS open service system will provide GPS L1 augmentation, begin operation in 2020, and support aviation, land and maritime users. A test operation system will provide GPS L1 and L5 augmentation. The system is expected to be fully operational by 2021, with service available throughout Asia.

Michibiki-AlanJapan’s QZSS. Hiroyuki Noda (Office of National Space Policy, Japan) said three more satellites for this augmentation system will be launched by the end of the decade, with the service beginning in 2018. In September 2012, the Japan cabinet made the commitment to accelerate development of the system. The first satellite, launched in 2010 (QZS-1, aka Michibiki) is performing as expected.

QZSS is expected to improve positioning availability from 90% to 99.8% in Japan. QZSS will not only improve positioning in the Asia-Pacific region, but is expected to improve the capacity to respond to natural disasters, Noda said.

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