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Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Satellites


2013 – QZSS

Japan already employs a ##-satellite GPS-augmentation system called MSAS, which stands for the MTSAT (Multi-functional Transport Satellite) Satellite-based Augmentation System. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is also creating the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), consisting of ## to ## quasi-GEO satellites that will address navigation issues specific to Japan’s geography. While these will be at similar altitudes as traditional GEO satellites, they will not actually be fixed over the Equator like typical FSS satellites.

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India

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Japan

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2008 – IRNSS

The Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System is under development by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The introduction of these competing systems, with newer spacecraft and stronger signals, should improve global coverage, accuracy, and reliability.

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2012 – IRNSS

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) will include ## satellites providing coverage primarily for South Asia. Like the Japanese system, ## of the ## will be in non-equatorial GEO, while ## will be in traditional GEO. The first satellite is scheduled to be launched in early 2013. India also has a GPS augmentation system called GPS-Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN, which is Hindi for “sky”), designed to improve air navigation in India. In September 2012, the second of three GAGAN payloads was put in orbit aboard the GSAT-10 satellite.

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2013 – IRNSS

Several other nations are developing or expanding their PNT or augmentation systems. The first satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) was launched in 2013. When complete, the network will include ## satellites to enhance PNT coverage over South Asia. ## of the ## will be in heavily inclined, non-equatorial GEO, while ## will be in traditional GEO. India also has a GPS augmentation system called GPS-Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN), designed to improve air navigation in India.

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2008 – Galileo

The European Union continues to develop the ##-satellite Galileo constellation, expected to be launched in 2010. Funding has been approved for the project, and in April 2008 the second GIOVE (Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element) test satellite was launched.  

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2012 – Galileo

Europe also has made strides in developing its PNT system, Galileo. A joint initiative between the European Commission (EC) and ESA, the Galileo constellation will consist of ## operational satellites and ## in-orbit spares flying in MEO. The initial Galileo constellation is expected to be in place between 2014 and 2016. In October 2012, Europe launched the ## and ## Galileo in-orbit validation (IOV) satellites, joining ## more IOV satellites that were deployed one year earlier. Once activated, this ##-satellite validation fleet, built by Astrium, will demonstrate Galileo’s ability to provide highly precise, three-dimensional positioning.

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2013 – Galileo

A joint initiative between the European Commission (EC) and ESA, the Galileo constellation will consist of ## operational satellites in MEO. Europe launched ## in-orbit validation (IOV) spacecraft between 2011 and 2012 for positioning tests and technology validation. In November 2013, the IOV network enabled Galileo to successfully track a test aircraft flying over the Netherlands, the first time that the European agency has been able to track a moving aircraft using only the Galileo system. Initially, Galileo’s Open Service—freely accessibly PNT signals for mass-market devices such as smartphones and automobile navigation systems—is planned to be operational in 2014, although the launch of the first ## satellites has been delayed.

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Europe

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