An Agile, Portable Antenna System for LEO Megaconstellation-Based PNT

Wenkai Qin, Zacharias M. Komodromos, Todd E. Humphreys

Abstract: This paper develops an antenna system to support use of signals from low Earth orbit (LEO) megaconstellations to conduct satellite beam and channel occupancy studies. The antenna system is based on an articulated horn antenna that can reposition itself from one LEO satellite vehicle (SV) to another in less than a second, which allows quasi-continuous LEO signal tracking despite the frequent satellite handoffs that occur in a LEO-based communications network. It offers an alternative to phasedarray antennas for LEO megaconstellation signals, which are not yet commercially available at a reasonable cost. The system automatically directs its horn antenna towards transmitting LEO SVs such that acquisition and tracking through a matched filter can be performed using known portions of the signal structure. This system serves as a proof-of-concept and development base for a full LEO position, navigation, and timing (PNT) solution. Experimental results are presented showing successful sequential acquisition of time of arrival measurements from SpaceX’s Starlink constellation as well as preliminary results for beam and channel occupancy, observing that up to three SVs may be simultaneously transmitting assigned beams toward a given user service cell.
Published in: Proceedings of the 36th International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2023)
September 11 - 15, 2023
Hyatt Regency Denver
Denver, Colorado
Pages: 2835 - 2846
Cite this article: Qin, Wenkai, Komodromos, Zacharias M., Humphreys, Todd E., "An Agile, Portable Antenna System for LEO Megaconstellation-Based PNT," Proceedings of the 36th International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2023), Denver, Colorado, September 2023, pp. 2835-2846. https://doi.org/10.33012/2023.19328
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