Within an hour of the first signal emanating from the new GLONASS K1 satellite on April 7, Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) engineers were tracking the satellite’s L1 and L2 signals. TPS receivers tracked the new code division multiple access (CDMA) L3 signals the same day.
Topcon was the first major company to track the three signals from the newly launched satellite.
Source: The Russian satellite, described as the “next generation” of GLONASS satellites, was successfully launched on February 26. Ivan Di Federico, TPS chief strategy officer, said, “The satellite launch, part of the modernization of the GLONASS system, provides an additional accuracy advantage over older satellites.”
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the satellite’s advanced equipment will allow doubling of the precise positioning accuracy of current satellite signals.
The new satellite is in orbit approximately 11,870 miles (19,100 kilometers) above the Earth. Additional satellites are planned to be launched this year, and will provide continuous global coverage (with two to three backup satellites).
Di Federico said, “Nearly 30 years after the first launch of a GLONASS satellite, Russia is adding CDMA to the regular frequency division multiple access (FDMA). This addition sets this navigation system apart from regular GPS and other systems under development or testing.”
Topcon pioneered dual-constellation signal reception in 2000 and now “clearly illustrated the company’s technological leadership in the precise satellite positioning industry by being the first manufacturer to combine the FDMA system design of the GLONASS system with the traditional CDMA design of the U.S. GPS system,” Di Federico said.