LEO GNSS data analysis capability for Ginan

Developing and incorporating Low Earth Orbiter (LEO) GNSS data analysis capability into Ginan.

The Challenge

Low Earth orbit (LEO) is an orbit relatively close to Earth’s surface. LEO satellites typically travel around Earth about 16 times a day and do not always have to follow the same path. This means there are many more available orbital geometries and orbital altitudes for satellites in LEO, which is one of the reasons why LEO is a commonly used orbit for many different applications. The rapid miniaturisation and commercialisation of LEO satellite platforms and sensors over the last decade has led to the development of a new class of small low-cost consumer grade LEO platforms suitable for a range of applications. Keeping track of all these assets in space and managing their interactions is becoming a limiting factor on future deployments. Developing and deploying accurate, easy-to-use, low-cost, and potentially autonomous asset tracking capability will be essential to enable continued rapid deployment and exploitation of LEO platforms. This project will review and upgrade the existing Ginan data analysis toolkit code base used to process microwave-based global navigation satellites systems (GNSS) observations from ground based (terrestrial) receivers and make it applicable to processing observations collected by GNSS receivers carried onboard Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite platforms. 


Project partners were Geoscience Australia, Curtin University University of Newcastle and The Australian Gas Infrastructure Group. 

The Solution

This project complements the on-going development of the multi-GNSS Analysis Centre Software known as Ginan. Currently the Ginan GNSS data analysis software toolkit, Precise Orbit Determination (POD) and Parameter Estimation Algorithm (PEA) modules enable estimation of dynamic GNSS satellite orbits in either in real-time, or post-processed mode. This project will focus on adding additional functionality to both the POD and PEA modules to enable LEO GNSS data to be processed and analysed. Part 1 of the project will be focused on adding the additional geophysical and orbit dynamics modelling required to precisely integrate, estimate, and predict LEO satellite trajectories. Part 2 will be to enable GNSS tracking data collected by LEO satellites to be used by the PEA to estimate satellite trajectories in either a reduced dynamic or fully dynamic mode. 


The capability to process and analyse LEO satellite GNSS observations will allow: 

  • Australia to have a sovereign capability to track and predict the orbits of LEO space vehicles 
  • Improvement in the accuracy of both GNSS and LEO satellite orbits and other geodetic parameters  
  • Improved global and regional ionosphere monitoring and modelling capability 
  • Improved 3-dimensional troposphere water vapour content monitoring and modelling capability 

To learn more, contact us at contact@frontiersi.com.au or connect with Project Manager, Eldar Rubinov, at erubinov@frontiersi.com.au