A Feasibility Study for Signal-in-Space Design for LEO-PNT Solutions With Miniaturized Satellites

Ruben Morales Ferre, Jaan Praks, Gonzalo Seco-Granados, Elena-Simona Lohan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs) are increasingly suffering from interferences, such as coming from jammers and spoofers, and their performance is still modest in challenging urban and indoor scenarios. Therefore, there are efforts worldwide to develop complementary positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) solutions. One such complementary method under current research is the so-called LEO-PNT, namely, PNT solutions based on low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, and in particular on small-sized or miniaturized satellites. Such satellites have low-to-moderate costs of building, launching, and maintenance. Several challenges are to be overcome when designing a new LEO-PNT solution, concerning all three satellite segments: 1) the signal-in-space (SIS) or space segment; 2) the ground segment; and 3) the user/receiver segment. This article presents a survey of the SIS design challenges under the inherent constraints of wireless-channel propagation impairments as well as some design recommendations for SIS features. We address different constellation types, achievable coverage limits, and geometric dilution of precision (GDOP) bounds, as well as achievable carrier-to-noise ratios (CNRs) under a realistic wireless channel model, based on a MATLAB Quadriga simulator. We also discuss several optimization criteria regarding LEO-PNT SIS design, by taking into account the tradeoff between a low cost/low number of satellites in orbit on the one hand, and a sufficient coverage and good CNR for PNT purposes on the other hand.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-183
JournalIEEE Journal on Miniaturization for Air and Space Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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