One of Europe’s Galileo satellites has been reconfigured to launch a new signal component optimized to serve low-end receivers and Internet of Things applications.
The meter-level accuracy provided by Galileo’s Open Service makes it the world’s most accurate, generally available service, surpassing other global navigation systems such as GPS, and providing not only positioning, navigation and timing services to users around the world, but also assists in rescue missions. . However, individual satellites within the constellation can also be used to test new signals and services as the system continues to evolve.
The Internet of Things brings new needs
Embedded sensors in everything from home appliances to farm equipment to smart city infrastructure are on the way, allowing such elements to communicate and share information about their location so they can work together. At the same time, these individual sensors are limited by severe limitations of available battery capacity and computing resources.
To serve this emerging market for the Internet of Things and instant devices, and to respond to the needs of chipset manufacturers, Galileo engineers therefore sought a positioning signal that could be achieved with lower computational complexity.
Testing a new signal component
This new pilot signal component in the E5 band, developed by ESA, is located along a narrow slice of the Galileo total signal, designed to allow simplified positioning corrections requiring less computation without any impact on the E1 and E6 signal bands. , on which Galileo also transmits. Preliminary test performance of the receiver has shown that the signal component has the ability to reduce signal reception time by a factor of three compared to current GPS L5 or Galileo E5a signals.
“Until now, no other Global Navigation Satellite System has provided such a capability in the E5 frequency band, but the prospect of an emerging market for such a feature is clear,” comments Jörg Hahn, Head of ESA’s Galileo First Generation System Engineering Service. “By reconfiguring the satellite, it will be possible to deploy such new capabilities across the constellation in a relatively short time, directly responding to current user demand.”
One Galileo’s satellites in elliptical orbits – officially known as GSAT0202 – was reconfigured in January to transmit this new signal component for testing in the E5 band.
After the satellite was reconfigured, signal measurements were made using high-power antenna installations from the Galileo In-Orbit Test Facility at the ESA Center in Redoubt, Belgium, and the Signal Monitoring Facility at the German Aerospace Center. DLR: in Wilhelm, Germany, confirming the stability of the amplified signal.
Then, shortly after the test signal component was broadcast, it was successfully received and tracked by a series of receivers located ESA Navigation Laboratorybased at its ESTEC technical center in the Netherlands.
Successful initial test of signal component
“The successful launch of this test campaign is the result of intensive design and testing activities,” adds Stefan Waller, Head of ESA’s Galileo First Generation Signal Space Engineering Division. “Thanks to the great engineers who supported Galileo within ESA and on the industrial side, it was possible to present this new test signal on a satellite that was not originally designed to receive such capabilities. We have now tested this new signaling component in a laboratory context, and next we want to see how it performs in a real environment.”
The work was supported by a number of industry partners, including Airbus Defense and space, Tales Alenia Space of Italy as well EUSPA:The EU Space Agency, which oversees the delivery of Galileo services The European CommissionHead of the Galileo project – and Space opaloperating Galileo.
After detailed testing to demonstrate the value of the so-called “G1 E5 Quasi Pilot” signal component, in the next step the other elliptical Galileo satellite GSAT0201 will be reconfigured in the same way, while selected chipset manufacturers will be involved in testing under the supervision of EUSPA. . The test results will be evaluated at the level of the Galileo program to assess the contribution of this new signaling component to the constellation.
Galileo is currently the world’s most accurate satellite navigation system, serving nearly four billion users worldwide since entering Open Service in 2017. All smartphones sold in the European single market are now Galileo-certified. In addition, Galileo is making a difference in rail, marine, agriculture, financial scheduling services and rescue operations.
Galileo is a flagship project of the EU space program managed and funded by the European Union. Since its inception, ESA has led the design and development of space and ground systems, as well as the acquisition of launches. EUSPA (EU Space Program Agency) acts as Galileo’s service provider, monitoring the market and application needs and closing the loop with users.