BeiDou ICD: Signal Specs Are Free At Last; First Demonstration of Galileo-Only Positioning (By Peter Steigenberger, Urs Hugentobler, and Oliver Montenbruck)
BeiDou ICD: Signal Specs Are Free At Last
The interface control document (ICD) describing the details of the BeiDou B1I open service signal on 1561.098 MHz was released December 27 at a news conference held in Beijing by the Chinese State Council Information Office. The ICD includes details of the navigation message, parameters of the satellite almanacs, and ephemerides that did not appear an earlier, incomplete version of the ICD released at the end of 2011.
An English version is available for download courtesy of the University of New Brunswick. The ICD specifies the relations of the signal in space interface between BeiDou Navigation Satellite System and users’ terminal receivers. It is the essential technical document to develop and make receivers and chips.
Anyone who has questions about the ICD is invited to submit them to BeiDouICD@beidou.gov.cn.
The document, BeiDou Navigation Satellite System Signal In Space Interface Control Document — Open Service Signal B1I (Version 1.0), includes a system introduction, signal standards and navigation message, which defines the related contents of the open-service signal B1I between the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System and users’ terminals.
In a previous presentation given at the Seventh Meeting of the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG) in November, 2012, BeiDou officials stated that by 2020 there will be five GEO and 30 non-GEO satellites. The number of IGSO and MEO satellites was not specified, but previous presentations have said three IGSOs and 27 MEOs. These numbers are also stated in the official ICD.
“The GEO satellites are operating in orbit at an altitude of 35,786 kilometers and positioned at 58.75°E, 80°E, 110.5°E, 140°E and 160°E respectively. The MEO satellites are operating in orbit at an altitude of 21,528 kilometers and an inclination of 55° to the equatorial plane. The IGSO satellites are operating in orbit at an altitude of 35,786 kilometers and an inclination of 55° to the equatorial plane.”
The China Satellite Navigation Office presented a new official logo for the BeiDou system, with a yin/yang symbol representing Chinese culture, dark and light blue for space and Earth, and the Big Dipper constellation, symbolizing a long tradition of Chinese navigation since ancient times.
A spokesperson said the English name for China’s GNSS will be BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, abbreviated as BDS. The name Compass, which first designated the prototype regional system and has been employed in conjunction with the name BeiDou, will apparently now be discontinued.
Other salient details from the ICD include:
Signal Structure. “The B1 signal is the sum of channel I and Q which are in phase quadrature of each other. The ranging code and NAV message are modulated on carrier. The signal is composed of the carrier frequency, ranging code and NAV message.
“The B1 signal is expressed as follows:
S j (t) = A I C I j (t) D I j (t) cos (2 π f0 t φ j) + A Q C Q j (t) D Q j (t) sin (2 π f0 t + φ j)
where superscript j is the satellite number; subscript I equals channel I; subscript Q is channel Q; A is the signal amplitude; C the ranging code; D the data modulated on ranging code; f0 represents the carrier frequency; and φ the carrier initial phase.”
As is the norm with most other GNSSs, BeiDou’s transmitted signal is modulated by quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK). The transmitted signal will be right-handed circularly polarized (RHCP), and its multiplexing mode is code-division multiple-access (CDMA).
User-Received Signal Power Level. “The minimum user-received signal power level is specified to be -163 dBW for B1I, which is measured at the output of a 0 dB RHCP receiving antenna (located near ground), when the satellite’s elevation angle is higher than 5 degree.”
Bandwidth and Suppression. “Bandwidth (1 dB): 4.092 MHz (centered at carrier frequency of B1I); Bandwidth (3 dB): 16 MHz (centered at carrier frequency of B1I). Out-band suppression: no less than 15 dB on f0±30 MHz, where f0 is the carrier frequency of B1I signal.”
Ranging Code on B1I. “The chip rate of the B1I ranging code is 2.046 Mcps, and the length is 2,046 chips. The B1I ranging code (hereinafter referred to as CB1I) is a balanced Gold code truncated with the last one chip. The Gold code is generated by means of Modulo-2 addition of G1 and G2 sequences which are respectively derived from two 11-bit linear shift registers.”
NAV Message. “NAV messages are formatted in D1 and D2 based on their rate and structure. The rate of D1 NAV message which is modulated with 1 kbps secondary code is 50 bps. D1 NAV message contains basic NAV information (fundamental NAV information of the broadcasting satellites, almanac information for all satellites as well as the time offsets from other systems); while D2 NAV message contains basic NAV and augmentation service information (the BDS integrity, differential and ionospheric grid information) and its rate is 500 bps.
“The NAV message broadcast by MEO/IGSO and GEO satellites is D1 and D2 respectively.” The adjacent table from the BeiDou ICD gives information on nav message contents.
First Demonstration of Galileo-Only Positioning
By Peter Steigenberger, Urs Hugentobler, and Oliver Montenbruck
The European satellite navigation system, Galileo, is currently in its in-orbit validation (IOV) phase with a constellation of four satellites. The satellites, launched in pairs on October 21, 2011, and October 12, 2012, are representative of the full 30-satellite constellation. The IOV satellites will demonstrate that the satellites and the ground segment meet the system’s requirements and will validate the system’s design before completion of the rest of the constellation.
The IOV satellites have already started transmitting signals, and short periods of four-satellite visibility have allowed us to demonstrate, for the first time, absolute and relative positioning using measurements from Galileo operational satellites only. This follows the positioning demonstration last year with the signals from the Galileo IOV Element (GIOVE) test satellites and the first two IOV satellites. As in that earlier work, external orbit and clock information is necessary, since the IOV satellites were not transmitting valid navigation messages at the time of our study.
Three Javad GNSS Triumph-VS receivers with external antennas were set up at Technische Universität München (TUM) in Munich, Germany. The reference station TUME is equipped with a Javad GNSS RingAntG3T choke-ring antenna whereas the stations TUMW and TUMO are equipped with Javad GNSS GrAntG3T antennas. Unfortunately, all antennas are mounted near metal surfaces introducing pronounced multipath effects. The resulting baseline lengths are approximately 19.4 meters for TUME-TUMW and 101.7 meters for TUME-TUMO. Galileo satellite orbit and clock information was determined from stations of the Cooperative Network for GNSS Observation (CONGO) and the Multi-GNSS Experiment (MGEX) of the International GNSS Service (IGS). For GPS satellites, the rapid products of the Center for Orbit Determination in Europe (CODE) were used. All computations were performed with a modified version of the Bernese GPS Software 5.0.
At a cutoff angle of 10 degrees, the four IOV satellites were jointly visible from TUM on January 6, 2013, for about two hours – from 04:16 to 06:09 UTC. Using an ionosphere-free dual-frequency linear combination of pseudorange measurements on the Galileo E1 and E5a frequencies, the position of the TUME reference station could be determined with a 3D position error of less than 1.5 meters (see Figure 1).
In addition to absolute positioning, relative positions between pairs of receivers were computed from Galileo E1, E5a, E5b, and E5 AltBOC single-frequency carrier-phase observations. Two GPS solutions covering the same time interval serve for comparison purposes. The first solution utilizes all visible GPS satellites (9 to 12 per epoch) whereas the second solution is intentionally limited to four satellites (G06, G16, G27, G29) for best comparison with the Galileo case. So-called kinematic-style processing was used where the baseline is not constrained to be unchanging and a relative-position solution is computed for each epoch of measurements. 3D standard deviations of the different solutions are listed in Table 1. The overall accuracies are at the level of a few centimeters.
A slightly degraded performance is achieved for the TUMO-TUME baseline, which can be attributed to both the larger separation and the inferior multipath environment compared to the TUMW-TUME baseline.
Comparing the individual Galileo signals, the best relative positioning results were obtained for the E1 carrier-phase measurements. Interestingly, the use of carrier-phase measurements from the E5 AltBOC tracking yielded a lower performance in our test than use of either the E5a or E5b observations. Apparently, the carrier-phase tracking benefits less from the ultra-wideband signal than the code tracking, where AltBOC usually offers notably reduced noise and multipath. Besides their good performance for Galileo-only positioning, the E1 and E5a carrier-phase measurements will be particularly relevant for future relative positioning applications due to the possibility of mixed-constellation ambiguity resolution with GPS L1 and L5 signals.
For illustration, Figure 2 shows the Galileo E1 solution as well as the GPS L1 solution computed from four satellites. For the north component, the scatter of the Galileo solution is larger by a factor of two compared to GPS whereas it is on almost the same level for the east and up components as a result of the specific geometry of the satellites employed.
With the recent testing of navigation messages on the first pair of IOV satellites, Galileo-based positioning as described in this article will not be limited to post-processing, but will be available to real-time users as well.
Peter Steigenberger is a staff member in the Institut für Astronomische und Physikalische Geodäsie of the Technische Universität München (TUM) in Munich, Germany.
Urs Hugentobler is the head of the Fachgebiet Satellitengeodäsie (Department of Satellite Geodesy) and the Forschungseinrichtung Satellitengeodäsie (Research Facility for Satellite Geodesy) at TUM.
Oliver Montenbruck is the head of the GNSS Technology and Navigation Group in the German Space Operations Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, and a TUM associate faculty member.