Navigation Satellites fly at 23,000 km Altitude. Europe Needs to Construct a Constellation That Flies A lot, A lot Decrease


Distances to totally different orbits will be laborious to know. For instance, the ISS sits round 400 kilometers from Earth, whereas some satellites, akin to Starlink, orbit at about 550 km. Typically that’s intentional, as objects in these orbits will finally degrade their orbit and deplete in Earth’s environment. Nevertheless, many techniques orbit a couple of orders of magnitude larger – such because the Galileo satellites that make up the spine of the European Union’s satellite tv for pc navigation community. At an orbit of round 23000 km, it has some benefits over lower-hanging satellites but additionally loads of disadvantages too. Now, the EU was to remove a few of these disadvantages by releasing an entire new set of lower-orbiting satnav satellites.

A few of the benefits are fairly obvious. Whereas Galileo and comparable GNSS techniques can attain nearly in all places on the planet – they aren’t significantly correct. A couple of meters a method or one other isn’t too massive of a deal whenever you’re merely coping with cellular phone navigation apps. However for functions akin to sensible cities and even genuinely driverless vehicles, the precision needs to be on the order of centimeters, not meters, to be efficient.

GNSS satellites have hassle offering that accuracy, largely as a result of they’re so far-off. Different orbits that convey satellites nearer to the bottom may permit for extra correct pinpointing of receiving gadgets and permit for makes use of in a broader vary of functions.

UT discusses a possible competitor to ESA’s plans – Starlink

One other drawback of large-scale GNSS satellites is their working frequency. It makes use of the L-band, which is between 1-2 GHz on the electromagnetic spectrum. Nevertheless, these bands aren’t useful in some conditions, for instance, in concrete buildings.

For instance, there are many eventualities within the industrial web of issues the place a robotic would wish to know its place inside a concrete constructing. So having a set of smaller satellites with a broader vary of working frequencies may permit these conditions to nonetheless get correct positioning information from a lower-hanging subset of satellites.

What’s extra, satellite tv for pc applied sciences have superior a fantastic deal recently, and having the infrastructure of Galileo and different navigational constellations help these new constellations would even additional enhance their technological benefits. For instance, any new satellites wouldn’t must have costly and ponderous atomic clocks on them, as they will merely obtain an correct timestamp from the geosynchronous satellites orbiting above them, the identical as every other GPS receiver would.

Galileo has been an ongoing undertaking for some time. And it’s lastly coming to fruition.
Credit score – ESA YouTube Channel

Eliminating a few of these redundancies, and making specialised tools for particular frequencies and functions, would permit the decrease orbiting satellite tv for pc techniques to clock in at solely about 1/tenth the dimensions of a Galileo, which weighs a hefty 700 kg. As launch prices are a big limitation for the business adoption of many of those applied sciences, reducing a satellite tv for pc’s launch weight is without doubt one of the major objectives of any design workforce.

Industrial applicability appears to be one of many core focal factors of the trouble to develop these novel techniques. The EU is already a pacesetter in satellite tv for pc system growth and clearly desires to stay so. With this new effort to get a constellation of improved satnav satellites up into orbit, the block, and ESA, its area company, hopes to maintain itself on the forefront of this fast-growing area of business area.

Be taught Extra:
ESA – ESA plans for low-orbiting navigation satellites
UT – Starlink will be Used as a Navigation System too
UT – Monster Black Gap Discovered Close to Earth, Starlink Hacked, Early Life Killed Mars
UT – ULA Atlas V Delivers Ultimate GPS IIF Navigation Satellite tv for pc to Orbit for USAF – Essential to Navy/Civilian Customers
UT – First Galileo Satellite tv for pc is in Orbit

Lead Picture:
Depiction of a world-covering satellite tv for pc system.
Credit score – ESA – Science Workplace

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