A Case Study Analysis for Designing a Lunar Navigation Satellite System with Time Transfer from the Earth GPS

Sriramya Bhamidipati, Tara Mina, and Grace Gao

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: There is growing interest in designing a future lunar navigation satellite system (LNSS) while utilizing a SmallSat platform. However, many design decisions, e.g., regarding the satellite clock and lunar orbit, are yet to be finalized. In our prior work, we developed an LNSS architecture that leverages intermittently available Earth-GPS signals to compute timing corrections, thereby alleviating the need for a higher-grade onboard clock. In this work, we formulate twenty case studies with different grades of clocks and lunar orbits to analyze the trade-offs in designing a SmallSat-based LNSS with time transfer from the Earth GPS. For each case study, the accuracy of ranging signals is assessed via the lunar user equivalent range error (UERE). Even with lower-grade clocks, the lunar UERE exhibits performance comparable to that of the Earth GPS. Furthermore, variations in the lunar UERE are also examined when the available Earth-GPS measurements are processed at different rates.
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