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[2.0] International Navigation Satellite Systems

v3.2.0 / chapter 2 of 3 / 01 jun 13 / greg goebel / public domain

* The Soviet Union followed the American lead in navigation satellites, fielding a system known as "Parus / Tsikada" comparable to Transit in the 1970s and then developing a GPS-like system named "GLONASS" in the 1980s. Other nations are now getting into the navigation satellite business, with China flying a "Beidou" constellation and Europe working towards a "Galileo" constellation.

triple GLONASS cluster in launch prep


[2.1] SOVIET PARUS-TSIKADA
[2.2] RUSSIAN GLONASS
[2.3] CHINESE BEIDOU
[2.4] EUROPEAN GALILEO

[2.1] SOVIET PARUS-TSIKADA

* The Soviets set up a network of navigation satellites similar to the US Transit system, using Doppler location technology and with comparable accuracies. As with the US Transit system, the primary rationale was to provide navigational data to ballistic-missile submarines. Investigations began in the late 1950s, leading to start of a formal development program in 1962. Launch of an initial series of "Tsyklon" experimental satellites began in 1967, with a total of 29 launched into 1978, not counting at least two launch failures.

The development program was protracted because it proved difficult to obtain the required location accuracy. Meeting specification required launch of geodetic studies satellites to obtain a more precise gravity map of the Earth. The last 13 Tsyklons were operational prototypes, close to production spec, and were also called "Zaliv".

   _______________________________________________________________________

   15 may 67   Cosmos 158 -- dummy payload
   27 sep 67   Tsyklon dummy payload launch attempt -- failure
   23 nov 67   Cosmos 192 
   07 may 68   Cosmos 220 
   14 aug 69   Cosmos 292 
   21 oct 69   Cosmos 304 
   11 apr 70   Cosmos 332 
   20 aug 70   Cosmos 358 -- went into unusual, possibly wrong, orbit
   12 oct 70   Cosmos 371
   12 dec 70   Cosmos 385 
   22 may 71   Cosmos 422 
   15 dec 71   Cosmos 465 
   25 feb 72   Cosmos 475
   06 may 72   Cosmos 489
   16 aug 72   Cosmos 514 
   26 jan 73   Cosmos 546 

   25 may 73   first Zaliv launch attempt -- failure
   20 jun 73   Cosmos 574 
   14 sep 73   Cosmos 586 
   29 dec 73   Cosmos 627 
   17 jan 74   Cosmos 628 
   27 jun 74   Cosmos 663
   19 oct 74   Cosmos 689 
   23 apr 75   Cosmos 729 
   03 feb 76   Cosmos 800 
   03 jun 76   Cosmos 823 
   29 jul 76   Cosmos 846 
   20 jan 77   Cosmos 890
   28 oct 77   Cosmos 962
   15 mar 78   Cosmos 994 
   27 jul 78   Cosmos 1027 
   _______________________________________________________________________

The Tsyklon series was followed by the fully operational "Tsyklon-B" or "Parus" system. Unlike the wildly varying Transit satellites, the Tsyklon and Parus satellites had similar configurations. Both were in the form of a drum covered with solar cells, with a weighted mast on top for gravity-gradient stabilization, and an antenna hung off one side near the bottom. They were all launched from the Plesetsk Northern Cosmodrome by the standard Soviet Kosmos 3M medium-lift booster, one satellite per shot, though a few launches did include small secondary payloads. The developed Parus satellites had a launch weight of about 810 kilograms (1,785 pounds), and were placed into a near-circular orbit of about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) at a near-polar inclination of 83 degrees.

Parus-type satellite

The Parus system was formally accepted into service in 1976, but it appears that the full constellation required 22 satellites and that wasn't achieved until 1980. The Parus satellites also provided a "store-dump" communications relay service for Red Navy surface vessels and submarines. Parus satellites continue to be launched, and some suspect that military communications are now the primary rationale for the constellation.

   _______________________________________________________________________

   26 dec 74   Cosmos 700
   11 apr 75   Cosmos 726
   14 aug 75   Cosmos 755
   04 nov 75   Cosmos 778
   20 jan 76   Cosmos 789
   29 oct 76   Cosmos 864
   28 dec 76   Cosmos 887
   21 feb 77   Cosmos 894
   13 jul 77   Cosmos 928
   13 sep 77   Cosmos 951
   23 dec 77   Cosmos 971
   17 jan 78   Cosmos 985
   28 feb 78   Cosmos 991
   28 mar 78   Cosmos 996
   23 may 78   Cosmos 1011
   20 dec 78   Cosmos 1064
   16 jan 79   Cosmos 1072
   21 mar 79   Cosmos 1089
   07 apr 79   Cosmos 1091
   31 may 79   Cosmos 1104
   16 oct 79   Cosmos 1141
   14 jan 80   Cosmos 1150
   25 jan 80   Cosmos 1153
   20 may 80   Cosmos 1181
   05 dec 80   Cosmos 1225
   12 feb 81   Cosmos 1244
   04 jun 81   Cosmos 1275
   12 aug 81   Cosmos 1295
   18 sep 81   Cosmos 1308
   14 jan 82   Cosmos 1333
   24 mar 82   Cosmos 1344
   08 apr 82   Cosmos 1349
   18 jun 82   Cosmos 1380
   07 jul 82   Cosmos 1386
   19 oct 82   Cosmos 1417
   12 jan 83   Cosmos 1428
   30 mar 83   Cosmos 1448
   06 may 83   Cosmos 1459
   24 may 83   Cosmos 1464
   08 dec 83   Cosmos 1513
   11 jan 84   Cosmos 1531
   02 feb 84   Cosmos 1535
   11 may 84   Cosmos 1550
   27 jun 84   Cosmos 1577
   13 sep 84   Cosmos 1598
   11 oct 84   Cosmos 1605
   15 nov 84   Cosmos 1610
   01 feb 85   Cosmos 1627
   14 mar 85   Cosmos 1634
   23 oct 85   Launch failure.
   28 nov 85   Cosmos 1704
   19 dec 85   Cosmos 1709
   16 jan 86   Cosmos 1725
   23 may 86   Cosmos 1745
   18 jun 86   Cosmos 1759
   24 nov 86   Cosmos 1802
   17 dec 86   Cosmos 1808
   18 feb 87   Cosmos 1821
   06 jul 87   Cosmos 1864
   14 oct 87   Cosmos 1891
   23 dec 87   Cosmos 1904
   22 mar 88   Cosmos 1934
   18 jul 88   Cosmos 1959
   22 feb 89   Cosmos 2004
   04 apr 89   Cosmos 2016
   07 jun 89   Cosmos 2026
   25 jul 89   Cosmos 2034
   20 mar 90   Cosmos 2061
   20 apr 90   Cosmos 2074
   14 sep 90   Cosmos 2100
   26 feb 91   Cosmos 2135
   16 apr 91   Cosmos 2142
   22 aug 91   Cosmos 2154
   27 nov 91   Cosmos 2173
   17 feb 92   Cosmos 2180
   15 apr 92   Cosmos 2184
   01 jul 92   Cosmos 2195
   29 oct 92   Cosmos 2218
   09 feb 93   Cosmos 2233
   01 apr 93   Cosmos 2239
   02 nov 93   Cosmos 2266
   26 apr 94   Cosmos 2279
   22 mar 95   Cosmos 2310
   06 oct 95   Cosmos 2321, did not reach operational orbit
   16 jan 96   Cosmos 2327
   05 sep 96   Cosmos 2334* 
   20 dec 96   Cosmos 2336
   17 apr 97   Cosmos 2341
   23 sep 97   Cosmos 2346* 
   24 dec 98   Cosmos 2361
   26 aug 99   Cosmos 2366
   08 jun 01   Cosmos 2378
   28 may 02   Cosmos 2389
   04 jun 03   Cosmos 2398
   22 jul 04   Cosmos 2407
   20 jan 05   Cosmos 2414*
   11 sep 07   Cosmos 2429 
   21 jul 09   Cosmos 2454*
   27 apr 10   Cosmos 2463
   _______________________________________________________________________

   (*) Indicates other payloads in launch.

Parus was a secret military system, but it was followed into service by a simplified system for civilian use, known as "Tsikada", also launched by the Kosmos 3M booster. Parus is sometimes referred to as "Tsikada Military" or "Tsikada-M". The Tsikada system was accepted into service in 1979 and reached its full complement of satellites in 1986. Tsikada was heavily used by the Soviet merchant marine. A few launches involved secondary payloads; in particular, the Tsikada satellite Cosmos 2123 was also fitted with two Russian amateur radio communications transponders.

   _______________________________________________________________________

   15 dec 76   Cosmos 883 
   08 jul 77   Cosmos 926 
   31 mar 78   Cosmos 1000 
   12 apr 79   Cosmos 1092 
   18 mar 80   Cosmos 1168 
   10 dec 80   Cosmos 1226 
   04 sep 81   Cosmos 1304 
   18 feb 82   Cosmos 1339 
   26 oct 83   Cosmos 1506 
   17 may 84   Cosmos 1553 
   30 may 85   Cosmos 1655 
   23 jan 86   Cosmos 1727 
   13 nov 86   Cosmos 1791 
   29 jan 87   Cosmos 1816 
   23 jun 87   Cosmos 1861 
   05 feb 91   Cosmos 2123*
   10 mar 92   Cosmos 2181 
   12 jan 93   Cosmos 2230 
   24 jan 95   Tsikada*
   05 jul 95   Cosmos 2315 
   _______________________________________________________________________

   (*) Indicates other payloads in launch.

Although the last Tsikada satellite as such was launched in 1995, the constellation was followed a series of Tsikada-type satellites fitted with an auxiliary COSPAS-SARSAT rescue beacon locator payload -- described in more detail later -- with these spacecraft given the name "Nadezhda (Hope)". An evaluation prototype was launched in 1982, followed by the first launch of an operational satellite in 1983. From the mid-1990s the Nadezhdas were fitted with an improved "Kurs" rescue locator system, and these improved satellites were designated "Nadezhda-M".

   _______________________________________________________________________

   30 jun 82   Cosmos 1383 (evaluation prototype)

   24 mar 83   Cosmos 1447
   21 jun 84   Cosmos 1574
   04 jul 89   Nadezhda 1 
   27 feb 90   Nadezhda 2
   12 mar 91   Nadezhda 3 
   14 jul 94   Nadezhda 4 
   10 dec 98   Nadezhda 5 (Nadezhda M)*
   28 jun 00   Nadezhda 6 (Nadezhda M)*
   26 sep 02   Nadezhda 7 (Nadezhda M)
   _______________________________________________________________________

   (*) Indicates other payloads in launch.
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[2.2] RUSSIAN GLONASS

* Although both the Parus and Tsikada / Nadezhda systems were still in operation at last notice, the Soviets went on to develop a GPS-like system, with the English name of "Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS)". Like GPS, the full GLONASS network includes 24 satellites, consisting of 21 operational satellites and three spares.

All the satellites transmit identical codes but at different frequencies, exactly the reverse of the scheme used for GPS. Actually, some satellites do transmit on the same frequencies, but they are placed in "antipodal" orbits, on opposite sides of the Earth, so they won't be picked up by a receiver at the same time. The GLONASS satellites provide a "High Precision (HP)" signal for military location purposes and a "Standard Precision (SP)" signal for civil location purposes. The orbits are at an altitude of 19,100 kilometers (11,865 miles), slightly lower than that of the GPS satellites, with the satellites placed in three orbital planes, each containing eight satellites and with the planes separated by 120 degrees. Each satellite completes an orbit in 11 hours 15 minutes. The planes have orbital inclinations of 64.8 degrees. GLONASS is supposed to have location accuracy capabilities roughly similar to those of GPS.

GLONASS satellites, also known by the name "Uragan (Hurricane)", were originally launched on Proton boosters. They have a configuration roughly along the lines of that of US GPS Navstar satellites, with a central module carrying antenna arrays and twin solar panels. GLONASS launches began in 1982, apparently with prototype launches into 1985. An Etalon geodetic satellite was launched in place of one of the GLONASS triplets in two launches in 1989 to validate the GLONASS orbit.

GLONASS-M satellite

An improved "GLONASS-M / Uragan-M" spacecraft was introduced, featuring better signal characteristics and a design lifetime of seven years, instead of the three year design lifetime of the original series. Older GLONASS satellites were launched along with GLONASS-M spacecraft for a time, apparently to burn up existing inventory. GLONASS-M has now been followed by the third-generation "GLONASS-K / Uragan-K" spacecraft, which are smaller and have a design lifetime of ten years. They are launched in singles or pairs on less expensive Soyuz boosters.

   _______________________________________________________________________

   12 oct 82   Cosmos 1413:1415    dummy GLONASS x 3
   10 aug 83   Cosmos 1490:1492    GLONASS prototype x 3
   29 dec 83   Cosmos 1519:1521    GLONASS prototype x 3
   19 may 84   Cosmos 1554:1556    GLONASS prototype x 3
   04 sep 84   Cosmos 1593:1595    GLONASS prototype x 3
   18 may 85   Cosmos 1650:1652    GLONASS prototype x 3
   25 dec 85   Cosmos 1710:1712    GLONASS prototype x 3
 
   16 sep 86   Cosmos 1778:1780    GLONASS x 3
   24 apr 87   Cosmos 1838:1840    GLONASS x 3, launch failure
   16 sep 87   Cosmos 1883:1885    GLONASS x 3
   17 feb 88   Cosmos 1917:1919    GLONASS x 3, launch failure
   21 may 88   Cosmos 1946:1948    GLONASS x 3
   16 sep 88   Cosmos 1970:1972    GLONASS x 3
   10 jan 89   Cosmos 1987:1989    GLONASS x 2, Etalon
   31 may 89   Cosmos 2022:2024    GLONASS x 2, Etalon
   19 may 90   Cosmos 2079:2081    GLONASS x 3
   08 dec 90   Cosmos 2109:2111    GLONASS x 3
   04 apr 91   Cosmos 2139:2141    GLONASS x 3
   30 jan 92   Cosmos 2177:2179    GLONASS x 3
   30 jul 92   Cosmos 2177:2179    GLONASS x 3
   17 feb 93   Cosmos 2234:2236    GLONASS x 3
   11 apr 94   Cosmos 2275:2277    GLONASS x 3
   11 aug 94   Cosmos 2287:2289    GLONASS x 3
   20 nov 94   Cosmos 2294:2296    GLONASS x 3
   07 mar 95   Cosmos 2306:2309    GLONASS x 3
   24 jul 95   Cosmos 2316:2319    GLONASS x 3
   14 dec 95   Cosmos 2323:2225    GLONASS x 3
   30 dec 98   Cosmos 2362:2364    GLONASS x 3
   13 oct 00   Cosmos 2374:2376    GLONASS x 3

   01 dec 01   Cosmos 2380:2382    GLONASS x 2, GLONASS-M x 1 (COSMOS 2382)
   25 dec 02   Cosmos 2394:2396    GLONASS x 3
   01 dec 03   Cosmos 2402:2404    GLONASS x 2, GLONASS-M x 1 (COSMOS 2404)
   26 dec 04   Cosmos 2411:2413    GLONASS x 2, GLONASS-M x 1 (COSMOS 2413)
   26 dec 04   Cosmos 2411:2413    GLONASS x 2, GLONASS-M x 1 (COSMOS 2413)
   25 dec 05   Cosmos 2417:2419    GLONASS x 1 (COSMOS 2417), GLONASS-M x 2
   24 dec 06   Cosmos 2424:2426    GLONASS-M x 3
   26 oct 07   Cosmos 2431:2433    GLONASS-M x 3
   25 dec 07   Cosmos 2435:2437    GLONASS-M x 3
   25 sep 08   GLONASS 724:726     GLONASS-M x 3
   25 dec 08   GLONASS 727:729     GLONASS-M x 3
   14 dec 09   GLONASS 730,733,734 GLONASS-M x 3

   26 feb 11 / GLONASS             GLONASS-K x 1
   02 oct 11 / GLONASS             GLONASS-M x 1
   03 nov 11 / GLONASS             GLONASS-M x 3
   28 nov 11 / GLONASS             GLONASS-M x 1
   26 apr 13 / GLONASS             GLONASS-M x 1
   _______________________________________________________________________


Launches of GLONASS spacecraft were spotty, not surprising considering the unsettled nature of the Russian state in the wake of the collapse of the USSR. However, money from oil and gas sales finally provided the funds to get moving on GLONASS, with the full constellation of 24 satellites in operation by the end of 2011.

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[2.3] CHINESE BEIDOU

* China is now operating their own first-generation satellite navigation system, named "Compass". The satellites are know under the name of "Beidou (Big Dipper)", with an initial "Beidou-1" constellation set up with three satellite launches from 2000 into 2003:

   __________________________________________________________

   31 oct 00   Beidou 1A                      Long March 3A
   21 dec 00   Beidou 1B                      Long March 3A
   25 may 03   Beidou 1C                      Long March 3A
   __________________________________________________________

The satellites were based on the Chinese DFH-3 geostationary communications satellite and each had a launch weight of 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds). The Beidou-1 system managed to provide navigational coverage of all of China and surrounding areas. There was some impression initially, partly because the spacecraft looked so much like communications satellites, that they provided error corrections of GPS signals, but as it turned out Beidou-1 was a stand-alone navsat system.

Chinese Beidou satellite

The scheme was referred to as the "TwinStar" system, and it had some resemblance to the aircraft "DME" scheme. Twinstar was demonstrated using two DFH-2A communications satellites in 1989, leading to authorization of full development of the navsat system in 1993.

The developed system involved a ground-based control center sending an interrogation signal to a user's ground-based navigation receiver through the Beidou satellites, with the receiver then sending back a response through two satellites. The "time delay of arrival (TDOA)" of the response signal back to each satellite allowed the position of the receiver to be determined by triangulation, with the position estimate refined at the control center by cross-referencing to a China terrain altitude database. The position data was relayed back to the receiver using an encrypted channel -- of course, Compass was designed with military applications in mind, just as were US and Soviet navsat systems -- and users could also send text messages with up to 120 Chinese characters through the spacecraft.

The system operated in a band around 2.491 GHz. There was an ambiguity in the use of geostationary satellites, in that a position might be north or south of the Equator, but since all of China is well north of the Equator and Beidou-1 was intended at least at the outset as a national system, that wasn't a problem. Accuracy was only about 100 meters (330 feet), though it could be improved to 20 meters (66 feet) or better using ground-based augmentation systems. Since two-way communications were required, the Compass receivers were bigger and more expensive than GPS / GLONASS receivers, and the maximum number of users ran to about 540,000 over the course of an hour.

Military users began to utilize the Compass system in late 2001, with civilian users getting on board in April 2004. Compass was clearly designed to provide a useful navsat system under Chinese control at much lower cost than fielding a full GPS / GLONASS-type global navsat constellation.

* The low-resolution Beidou-1 constellation was clearly an interim solution, since the Chinese then began to move forward on "Beidou-2", now being set up, which is much more like GPS or GLONASS, with spacecraft generating sets of timing signals to give more precise locations.

In completion, Beidou-2 will have 35 satellites -- five in geostationary orbit to provide global coverage using the old Beidou-1 scheme, with 27 spacecraft in medium Earth orbit and three in a "geostationary" altitude orbit -- oddly at high angles of inclination.

   __________________________________________________________

   02 feb 07   Beidou 1D                      Long March 3A
   14 apr 07   Beidou M-1                     Long March 3A
   15 apr 09   Beidou G-2                     Long March 3C

   17 jan 10   Beidou G-1                     Long March 3C
   02 jun 10   Beidou G-3                     Long March 3C
   01 aug 10   Beidou IGSO-1                  Long March 3A
   01 nov 10   Beidou G-4                     Long March 3C
   18 dec 10   Beidou IGSO-2                  Long March 3A

   10 apr 11   Beidou IGSO-3                  Long March 3A
   26 jul 11   Beidou IGSO-4                  Long March 3A
   02 dec 11   Beidou IGSO-5                  Long March 3A

   24 feb 12   Beidou G5                      Long March 3C
   29 apr 12   Beidou M3,M4                   Long March 3B
   18 sep 12   Beidou M5,M6                   Long March 3B
   25 oct 12   Beidou G6                      Long March 3C
   __________________________________________________________
 
   G:     geostationary Earth orbit
   IGSO:  high-inclination geostationary Earth orbit
   M:     medium Earth orbit
   __________________________________________________________

An initial operating capability was available by the beginning of 2012, with Chinese officials saying the full constellation would be in service by 2020.

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[2.4] EUROPEAN GALILEO

* There has been some effort towards building receivers that can obtain signals from both GPS and GLONASS, providing substantially greater accuracy than would be possible from either by itself. Use of two satellite systems also gives users a "backup" operational capability if one of the systems is disabled. The European Community is now implementing the "Global Navigation Satellite System 1 (GNSS-1)", which will integrate services from GPS, GLONASS, and various augmentation networks.

One of the problems in combining use of GPS and GLONASS is that they use different global coordinate systems. GPS uses a coordinate system named "WGS-84", in which the precise location of the North Pole (which drifts a bit) is fixed at its location in 1984. GLONASS uses a coordinate system named "PZ-90", in which the precise location of the North Pole is given as an average of its position from 1900 to 1905. Trying to link the two coordinate systems has proven difficult, particularly because there are far fewer GLONASS receivers than GPS receivers.

GNSS-1 is supposedly a stepping stone to a completely independent European "GNSS-2". GNSS-2, or "Galileo" as it has been named, is to be based on an entirely new satellite constellation, consisting of 30 satellites, including three on-orbit spares, placed in three orbital planes at an altitude of 26,616 kilometers (16,530 miles). The orbital system will be integrated from the start with ground augmentation networks. The Galileo satellites will also carry COSPAS-SARSAT search and rescue payloads.

Unlike GPS, Galileo will be completely under civilian control. It is being implemented through a cooperative relationship between the ESA and the European Union (EU) organization. European military forces have expressed interest in making use of Galileo, but so far have not offered to help with funding. India bought into a share of the program in late 2003.

The Galileo group plans to offer four types of service packages: an "open" service available to all at no cost; a "safety of life" service that provides alerts when the system's accuracy or integrity is compromised; a commercial service using encrypted signals; and a public regulated service for government users. The Galileo system uses a different scheme from the US GPS system, but work was done to make sure the two systems dovetailed well enough to prevent mutual interference and allow users to pick up both systems with a single receiver.

The green light for development was given in the summer of 2003. Initial efforts focused on the flight of two "Galileo Test-Bed Satellites (GTBS)", with the spacecraft known more specifically by the name of "Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element (GIOVE)". The contract for the first testbed satellite, GIOVE A, was issued to Surrey Satellite Technology LTD in the UK in July 2003. GIOVE A was launched from Baikonur by a Soyuz-Fregat booster on 28 November 2005; the satellite had a launch mass of 600 kilograms (1,327 pounds). GIOVE A was mainly intended to stake a claim on the radio spectrum to be used by Galileo and was not representative of an operational spacecraft, though it did carry technology validation payloads.

GIOVE A & GIOVE B

GIOVE B was built by Thales Alenia Space, EADS Astrium, and Telespazio, and was launched from Baikonur on 26 April 2008, well behind expected schedule. It was a demonstrator for operational satellites, carrying a payload including three high-precision hydrogen maser clocks. Initial launch of four operational "in orbit validation" satellite has been persistently slipping, leaving it uncertain as to when the full Galileo constellation will be in space.

The delays -- and associated cost overruns -- were partly due to technical problems, but they were also due to persistent bickering over the program among the member states. Critics have blasted the program, calling it a classic "Euro-boondoggle", based on a bogus business model and amounting to little more than an overpriced attempt to acquire a "me-too" GPS system. There have been loud calls for its cancellation, though for the time being the program remains alive.

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