Two Active GLONASS Satellites Could Cause Users Difficulties

February 28, 2013  - By

On day 53 (February 22) around 09:15 GPS Time, GLONASS 743 began transmitting on frequency channel 6 using almanac slot 8 (R08). It should replace GLONASS 701K (801) transmitting on frequency channel -5, previously using almanac slot 8. However, GLONASS 701K was not immediately switched off and/or did not switch slot numbers and continued to transmit on frequency channel -5 for several days, continuously identifying itself as a slot 8 satellite.

While most receivers were just tracking GLONASS 743, some tracked both GLONASS 743 and 701K. While 701K was not in the broadcast almanac, it was transmitting ephemeris records identifying itself as a satellite in slot 8. The net result was that RINEX observation files from certain stations had a mixture of GLONASS 743 and 701K data, with no indication of which satellite was which. Of course, one could use expected Doppler shift and/or code/carrier rate of change to figure out which data records correspond to which satellite.

Furthermore, the GLONASS navigation files from certain stations contained a mixture of ephemeris records from GLONASS 743 and 701K. For day 54, for example, GLONASS navigation files for 146 (non-MGEX) stations were available at CDDIS. A number of these did not contain any R08 entries, presumably because the corresponding receivers were set to not track unhealthy satellites. Some of the files contained R08 ephemeris records from earlier dates. These were ignored.

This left 82 files containing either GLONASS 701K and/or 743 ephemeris records for day 54. These files were parsed to determine, for each file, for which times ephemeris records were available for which satellites. The results are summarized in the following plot (PDF available):


Results of Glonass

The station numbers correspond to those in this table.

The navigation files from 29 stations contain both GLONASS 701K and 743 records. It seems that JAVAD GNSS and Topcon receivers were primarily affected.

Note that the CDDIS brdc***0.13g files on affected days have a mixture of GLONASS 743 and 701K ephemeris records, but at any one epoch, only one satellite is represented.

Files from days 53 through 56 are affected.

It appears that GLONASS 701K stopped identifying itself as a slot 8 satellite after about 15:15 GPS Time on day 56 and was not subsequently tracked by any station supplying data files to CDDIS.

See also IGSMail-6734, “Irregular GLONASS constellation change (for R08).

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About the Author: Richard B. Langley

Richard B. Langley is a professor in the Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton, Canada, where he has been teaching and conducting research since 1981. He has a B.Sc. in applied physics from the University of Waterloo and a Ph.D. in experimental space science from York University, Toronto. He spent two years at MIT as a postdoctoral fellow, researching geodetic applications of lunar laser ranging and VLBI. For work in VLBI, he shared two NASA Group Achievement Awards. Professor Langley has worked extensively with the Global Positioning System. He has been active in the development of GPS error models since the early 1980s and is a co-author of the venerable “Guide to GPS Positioning” and a columnist and contributing editor of GPS World magazine. His research team is currently working on a number of GPS-related projects, including the study of atmospheric effects on wide-area augmentation systems, the adaptation of techniques for spaceborne GPS, and the development of GPS-based systems for machine control and deformation monitoring. Professor Langley is a collaborator in UNB’s Canadian High Arctic Ionospheric Network project and is the principal investigator for the GPS instrument on the Canadian CASSIOPE research satellite now in orbit. Professor Langley is a fellow of The Institute of Navigation (ION), the Royal Institute of Navigation, and the International Association of Geodesy. He shared the ION 2003 Burka Award with Don Kim and received the ION’s Johannes Kepler Award in 2007.