Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The design and implementation of a small satellite navigation unit based on a global positioning system receiver
Author: Unwin, Martin
ISNI:       0000 0001 3541 1094
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1995
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis describes the definition, implementation, and in-orbit testing of an autonomous navigation unit based upon a GPS receiver for use on board a small satellite in low Earth orbit. It explains the motivation for the use of GPS to provide this function, and describes the practical application and integration of this technology into an existing microsatellite system. Until now, the technology for any satellite to track itself has not existed. Space agencies spend significant funds supporting a network of tracking stations around the world for orbit determination. With the recent realisation of the Global Positioning System and the availability of inexpensive receiver hardware, it has become a practical proposition to include a GPS receiver within the demanding constraints of a small satellite. A GPS receiver on-board a satellite can eliminate the necessity for ground-based tracking by providing an autonomous orbit determination capability. During the course of these studies, the requirements and constraints of a small satellite were identified by the author and matched with the capabilities of a GPS receiver. A GPS Navigation Unit was defined to provide autonomous services available oil demand for the satellite platform and payloads; position and velocity; time synchronisation; orbital elements; payload triggering and GPS data logging (for experimental and research purposes). The GPS Navigation Unit includes a processing facility capable of command and initialisation of the GPS receiver, and data processing to give orbit determination capability. When used on a microsatellite, the additional constraints of low power consumption necessitate the intermittent operation of the GPS receiver. To test the concept of the GPS Navigation Unit, a commercial Trimble TANS II GPS receiver system that had been modified for orbital velocities was integrated into the PoSAT-1 microsatellite which was launched into low Earth orbit in September 1993. A method for orbit determination was developed for use with the output from the GPS receiver, and the GPS Navigation Unit was implemented in software according to the constraints of the PoSAT-1 mission. The significant results from these studies include: The first use of a GPS receiver on a microsatellite, PoSAT-1. The implementation, test and validation of a GPS Navigation Unit in low Earth orbit. The first satellite mission to demonstrate the capability for autonomous orbit determination through the GPS Navigation Unit. The definition of the general-purpose interfaces between a small satellite and a satellite- borne GPS Navigation Unit.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Unmanned spacecraft; satellites