Thorough Testing in GNSS Design: A Must-Do for Satellite Performance

Thanks to Global Navigation Satellite Systems, you can provide navigation services to any node globally. These systems use constellations of satellites that telecommunicate among themselves to process this information and broadcast it to the respective signal receivers. Precise broadcasting to the required nodes hinges on how well these satellites are programmed to determine the speed, time, and location of the users to which to send the signals. Since some of the information that GNSSs convey is confidential, highly classified, or industry-specific, you cannot risk launching or to keep using a faulty GNSS.

Modifications to an already launched GNSS system are also highly costly. It, thus, is advisable that you get your navigation systems design and manufacturing right from the moment go. And, what are the odds for that? Well, that means you will need one of the following two remedies and design requirements:

Design testing

This testing makes the formative stages of building your GNSS. That requires using various and multi-element simulators to determine the best signal transmission and reception features for your GPS/GNSS devices. As a result, you are confident that your navigation system will meet and can sustain your performance requirements during its lifespan.

In most cases, this testing will also cover the energy efficiency of your GPS/GNSS devices. With such a test environment, you, therefore, can plan accurately on the energy consumption of your satellites right before you launch them. Testing also covers determining the right size, shape, and weight of your navigation devices. These three may seem to be factors you can ignore. But they play a critical role, not so much in performance, but in optimizing how well your satellites navigate in actual environments.

Continuous testing

Earth with geometric lines

Typically, there is not much that you can do, in terms of modifying, once you launch your satellites. But there happen to be environment changes that you did not anticipate and factor in the designing of your GPS/GNSS systems. That will alter the typical performance of your satellites. In this case, your satellite products manufacturer should modify the test environment for future GPS/GNSS to operate fully following the current trend of environmental changes. They also can alter the test environment to accommodate design or industry-specific application changes.

GNSS and multi-element GPS simulators make among the best applications to test GNSS transmitters and receivers before and after releasing navigation systems in the market. Such testing applications emulate the particular environments in which the navigation device will operate practically. They provide both manufacturers and users GNSS products the confidence that these devices will perform optimally. That inference also comes with detailing GNSS-GPS-specific parameters such as signal characteristics, satellite motion, and atmospheric specifications for optimal signal transmission and reception. Manufacturers can also alter test environments for worst-case scenarios. Doing so will assure you that your GNSS device will operate optimally over its service life without requiring any maintenance. That will save you satellite maintenance cost and the risk of information getting into the wrong hands.

So, do not just buy your GNSS systems off the shelf. Inquire how much testing they have been through and whether the test environment matches the actual one in which you plan to use the satellites.