Start acceleration of the space GPS receiver

Pavel Kovář


The cold start of the space GPS receiver, i.e. the
start without any information about the receiver position, satellite
constellation, and time, is complicated by a large Doppler shift
of a navigation signal caused by the satellite movement on the
Earth orbit. That increases about five times the search space of
the navigation signals compared to the standard GPS receiver.
The paper investigates a method of the acceleration of the GPS
receiver cold start time designed for the pico- and femto-satellites.
The proposed method is based on a combination of the parallel
search in Doppler frequency and PRN codes and the serial search
in code phase delay. It can shorten the cold start time of the GPS
receiver operating on LEO orbit from about 300 to 60 seconds
while keeping the simplicity of FPGA signal processor and low
power consumption. The developed algorithm was successfully
implemented and tested in the piNAV GPS receiver. The energy
required for the obtaining of the position fix was reduced five
times from 36 on to 7.7 Joules. This improvement enables
applications of such receiver for the position determination in
smaller satellites like Pocket Cube or femto-satellites with a lower
energy budget than the Cube Satellite.

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