Prospects of multiple global navigation satellite system tracking for formation flying in highly elliptical earth orbits
by Erin Kahr
International Journal of Space Science and Engineering (IJSPACESE), Vol. 1, No. 4, 2013

Abstract: Two formation flying missions are currently planned for highly elliptical orbit, NASA's Magnetosphere Multi Scale Mission and ESA's PROBA-3; however, neither of these missions will take advantage of the new positioning opportunities offered by multi-constellation GNSS and their modernised signal structures. This paper investigates the potential benefits through a detailed visibility simulation which includes GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou, QZSS, WAAS, EGNOS, GAGAN, SDCM and MSAS. Results based on the PROBA-3 orbit demonstrate that the GNSS signals are marginally detectable by a standard GNSS receiver, and therefore the output of any visibility simulation is highly dependent on the input simulation parameters. Because small changes to the mission and receiver or unexpected GNSS signal levels can significantly impact the visibility, investing in weak tracking and multi-constellation GNSS is particularly advantageous to mitigate the impact of uncertainty in the HEO environment. Under the right conditions, regional systems are shown to be particularly advantageous.

Online publication date: Wed, 30-Apr-2014

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