Exploring the Use of GNSS Beyond the Moon

Brian C. Peters, Ryan McKnight, Zachary Arnett, Sabrina Ugazio, Michael Braasch

Abstract: The increasing volume of space missions expected over the coming decades will drive demand for autonomous navigation methods that can reduce reliance on ground-based tracking networks. Past and current research efforts have shown that Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) can be used to navigate Earth-orbiting spacecraft at high altitudes, above the GNSS constellations themselves, and show great promise as a means of navigating spacecraft in cislunar space and at the Moon. Additional study is required to build on this work and further consider the viability of GNSS-based navigation beyond the Moon. The objective of this paper is to review and analyze current weak-signal GNSS receiver technology for space applications and investigate multi-GNSS signal visibility in specific mission scenarios. It details the design of a simulation considering “L1-band” (L1/E1/B1) and “L5-band” (L5/E5a/L3/B2) signals from GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou, QZSS, and NavIC, evaluating expected visibility from main lobe and sidelobe signals using estimated antenna patterns. Results from the simulation are shown for three specific scenarios: a straight-line trajectory from 60 Earth radii (RE) (approximate lunar distance) to 300 RE covering 14 days, 7 days surrounding the apogee of NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) during its ballistic lunar transfer (BLT), and the final 7 days of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission before impact with the asteroid Dimorphos.
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: 1530 - 1543
Cite this article: Peters, Brian C., McKnight, Ryan, Arnett, Zachary, Ugazio, Sabrina, Braasch, Michael, "Exploring the Use of GNSS Beyond the Moon," Proceedings of the 36th International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2023), Denver, Colorado, September 2023, pp. 1530-1543. https://doi.org/10.33012/2023.19386
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