First Acquisition and Tracking of Third Galileo IOV Satellite

On December 01, 2012, the E1 signal of the Galileo Flight Model 3 satellite (FM3, also known as GSAT0103) has been successfully acquired and tracked by the researchers of the Navigation, Signal Analysis and Simulation (NavSAS) group (Istituto Superiore Mario Boella / Politecnico di Torino) for the first time at 15:10:00 CET (14:10:00 UTC).

This signal has been received at the Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (ISMB) premises (located in Torino, Italy, latitude = 45°03'54.99" N, longitude = 7°39'32.29" E, height = 311.97 meters) with a non-directive GNSS antenna, a commercial narrowband E1 RF front-end, and the N-GENE receiver, a fully software receiver developed by the NavSAS researchers.

At the time of the successful acquisition and tracking, the FM3 satellite was broadcasting a Galileo Open Service signal on E1 band using the Code Number 19 of the Galileo Interface Control Document (ICD). The FM3 is one of the new Galileo In-Orbit Validation (IOV) satellites recently launched: in detail the third (FM3) and the fourth (FM4) IOV satellites have been successfully placed into orbit on the evening of October 12, 2012, joining the two IOV satellites already in orbit (PFM and FM2) and paving the way for the subsequent deployment of the Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite constellation of the Galileo system.

In addition to the FM3, also the PFM and the FM2 satellites were in view on December 01, 2012, and their E1 signals (Code Number 11 and 12, respectively) have been successfully received and processed during the same data collection.

Figures 1 and 2 show the orbits of the three Galileo satellites at the moment of the signal acquisition (these screenshots have been produced using a free software tool, Orbitron, © by Sebastian Stoff). In Figure 1 the three Galileo satellites are visible. Figure 2 shows a detailed skyplot computed with respect to the position of ISMB (Torino, Italy).


Figure 1 – Map of the Galileo IOV satellite orbits at the moment of the signal acquisition

Figure 2 - Skyplot of Galileo IOV satellite orbits at the moment of the signal acquisition