Satellites provide crucial data for climate and environmental study daily. The scientists’ projections will be more accurate if the satellite data is more precise. That is why RUAG Space, a global pioneer in satellite orbit determination, is researching the European Union. This will allow for more exact satellite positioning, allowing for better satellite data on climate change, for example.
Determine satellite’s live location position reduced to 10 centimeters
“We were able to establish the satellite’s real-time position ten times more precisely than we had been able to do previously.” According to Anders Linder, Senior Vice President Program Satellites at RUAG Space, position precision improved from around 100 cm to 10 centimeters. “In terms of high-precision satellite positioning, this is a quantum leap.”
The New software processes fresh Galileo signal
A new software tool that determines the exact position of satellites in orbit was used to attain improved accuracy. The latest navigation receivers from RUAG Space employ signals from the European Galileo navigation satellites as well as the United States GPS. A position signal from the European Galileo navigation satellites can also be processed by the program. “The Galileo satellites have currently untapped potential,” says Anders Linder. The Galileo satellites send out a variety of signals. In 2022, a new service called the High Accuracy Service (HAS) will be deployed on one of these frequencies, allowing for a much superior location.
More accurate positioning prevents satellite collisions and space remains
More precise information on a satellite’s orbital position also aids in the prevention of satellite collisions in space, reducing space debris. A lot of space debris is formed when satellites crash in orbit. Because of the rapid speed of junk in orbit, even the tiniest debris particles represent a significant threat to other satellites. “The more precisely a satellite’s position is known, the better a potential accident can be forecast and, for example, evasive measures can be performed,” Anders Linder underlines.
Many satellite swarms of hundreds to thousands of tiny satellites will be launched into low-Earth orbit in the future years. RUAG Space is creating a low-cost navigation receiver that is lighter and smaller than traditional GNSS receivers for such swarms of identical satellites. It already comes with the new software, which features HAS signal processing for Galileo signals. The new “NavRix PinPoint” space-borne receiver is more cost-effective due to the usage of standardized electrical components.
Research accomplished in 2022
The European Union Space Programme Agency in Prague granted RUAG Space a research contract in early 2021. The goal of the research is to improve satellite positioning accuracy. The research will end up in 2022.