Realistic tests for LEO satellite constellations

Realistic tests for LEO satellite constellations

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

UK test house Spirent Communications has developed the first high-accuracy orbital modelling software for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite simulation.

SimOrbit was developed with Swiss spaceborne receiver developer SpacePNT to help developers calculate LEO orbits and their distinctive characteristics more precisely and realistically for positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) testing.

Testing space-based applications in the field is extremely difficult and cost prohibitive, which is why accurate lab testing is vital. The new era of LEO satellites demands highly accurate modelling of the Low Earth Orbit environment to provide the realism needed for high-value testing, including representing the distinct gravitational and atmospheric impact LEO satellites will endure.

SimORBIT allows developers to test using simulations that more closely resemble the true operating environment of a LEO satellite.

“Until now, PNT testing on LEO applications has been limited due to the lack of an integrated solution that could offer realistic LEO orbital data together with GNSS simulation capabilities,” explained Adam Price, Spirent’s Vice President of PNT Simulation.

“By working in close collaboration with SpacePNT, we have been able to develop the SimORBIT tool to bring a new level of accuracy and realism to LEO application testing by combining the simulation of precise LEO orbits and highly accurate GNSS signals.“

This capability complements the ability of Spirent’s simulation systems to generate timing (non-ICD control) signals via I/Q injection or with Spirent’s “Flex” feature, enabling new space-based PNT signals to be developed in the lab as realistically as possible.;

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