The European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency GSA has now commissioned RUAG Space to conduct a study to increase the accuracy of real-time satellite navigation.
For climate and environmental research, satellites provide extremely important data every day, such as how high sea levels are rising or what effects global warming is having on glacier ice shrinkage in the Alps — this contract is worth one million euros
This study aims to further increase the accuracy of this space data from climate and environmental satellites. To make this possible, the Prague-based, European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency (GSA) awarded this research contract to RUAG Space earlier this year. To provide precise Earth observation data from space, the satellite’s position in space must be known as accurately as possible. To determine the exact position of satellites, RUAG Space’s navigation receivers today use the signals from the 22 European Galileo navigation satellites.
By the end of 2022, RUAG Space will develop a new product that will be able to use the new Galileo HAS service. Navigation receivers from RUAG Space that process Galileo signals already ensure precise positioning. These include the Sentinel-6 environmental satellite, which has been in space since November 2020. It measures the amount of sea level change and provides crucial data on coastal areas at risk from sea level rise.
RUAG Space is developing a software update for navigation receivers of the current PODRIX receiver generation already in space, such as those used for Sentinel-6. This will enable these receivers to increase the accuracy of satellite positioning from the current level of about one meter to 20 centimeters.
Navigation receivers from RUAG Space process Galileo signals, allowing the satellite’s position to be determined precisely. This in turn enables satellites such as Sentinel-6 (pictured) to collect precise environmental data. The precision of satellite navigation, and thus the accuracy of satellite data, is now to be significantly improved.
“Currently, there is still untapped potential in the Galileo satellites. They transmit several signals. On one of these signals, a new service, the High Accuracy Service (HAS), will support significantly improved positioning from 2022,” said Martin Auer, who is leading the study at RUAG Space. “When this new service goes into operational use, it will need equipment that can do something with it. That’s what we’re working on.“
“The more accurate the satellite’s position can be determined, the more precise the environmental data it collects and provides. With the more accurate data, for example, the danger to coastal cities such as Venice can be predicted more effectively,” said Fiammetta Diani, Head of Market Development at GSA.
“This is a dramatic improvement – a quantum leap – in accurate satellite positioning that will contribute to much better climate and environmental data,” noted Heinz Reichinger, the product manager at RUAG Space.