A System-Level Engineering Approach for Preliminary Performance Analysis and Design of Global Navigation Satellite System Constellations
This paper presents a system-level engineering approach for the preliminary coverage performance analysis and the design of a generic Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) constellation. This analysis accounts for both the coverage requirements and the robustness to transient or catastrophic failures of the constellation. The European GNSS, Galileo, is used as reference case to prove the effectiveness of the proposed tool. This software suite, named GNSS Coverage Analysis Tool (G-CAT), requires as input the state vector of each satellite of the constellation and provides the performance of the GNSS constellation in terms of coverage. The tool offers an orbit propagator, an attitude propagator, an algorithm to identify the visibility region on the Earth’s surface from each satellite, and a counter function to compute how many satellites are in view from given locations on the Earth’s surface. Thanks to its low computational burden, the tool can be adopted to compute the optimal number of satellites per each orbital plane by verifying if the coverage and accuracy requirements are fulfilled under the assumption of uniform in-plane angular spacing between coplanar satellites.
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