GNSS News about non-GPS Constellations

It seems that we are approaching to that time to see non-American GNSS constellations are independently operational for either positioning or reflectometry purposes.

The European Space Agency (ESA) supported GNSS constellation, Galileo, is to improve itself by signing a new contract with their prime operational contractor, Spaceopal. The plan is developing a reference algorithm for those Galileo clients using High-Accuracy Services (HAS) terminals, which is predicted to be conducted in 18 months. The final aim of such services at its second phase is providing a worldwide 20 cm precision for positioning by 2024 by correcting clock, phase and orbit biases as well as correcting ionospheric delay (Haven’t they done it yet?). Here, you can find more information on the scheme designated experiments of HAS.

By employing this innovative algorithm and improving their positioning quality, the Galileo’s team looks forward to compete in general and special GNSS markets, including autonomous vehicles industry, various types of transportation (rail, maritime, etc.), and agriculture. As a reflectometry-oriented user, I hope we’ll be getting stronger contribution from Galileo soon.

A similar new had been heard about the Chinese GNSS constellation, BeiDou, on Dec 2020. Having spent 50 billion USD by the end of 2019, Chinese GNSS industry is to standardize BeiDou technical aspects in four classes of data format, augmentation system, atomic clock and map application. This can be a promising news for sectors in China and around the world which are benefiting from BeiDou’s contribution to GNSS; sectors such as agriculture, urban governance, transportation and public security.

These efforts become much more beneficial and interesting to professional GNSS users when they come with the most recent version of RINEX released on Dec 2020. RINEX 3.05 includes tons of updates in favor of non-US GNSS such as BeiDou. These updates, as announced by the support office of ESA, comprise of a major restructure adding BeiDou tracking code to fully support BDS-1 and BDS-2, two of the “three-step strategy” of the BeiDou systems (read more here), and adding missing flag for the Russian GLONASS.

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