Vol 8, No 6 (2008): (611-742) / Ai

A Positioning System based on Communication Satellites and the Chinese Area Positioning System (CAPS)

Guo-Xiang Ai, Hu-Li Shi, Hai-Tao Wu, Yi-Hua Yan, Yu-Jing Bian, Yong-Hui Hu, Zhi-Gang Li, Ji Guo, Xian-De Cai


The Chinese Area Positioning System (CAPS) is a positioning system based on satellite communication that is fundamentally different from the 3``G'' (GPS, GLONASS and GALILEO) systems. The latter use special-purpose navigation satellites to broadcast navigation information generated on-board to users, while the CAPS transfers ground-generated navigation information to users via the communication satellite. In order to achieve accurate Positioning, Velocity and Time (PVT), the CAPS employs the following strategies to overcome the three main obstacles caused by using the communication satellite: (a) by real-time following-up frequency stabilization to achieve stable frequency; (b) by using a single carrier in the transponder with 36 MHz band-width to gain sufficient power; (c) by incorporating Decommissioned Geostationary Orbit communication satellite (DGEO), barometric pressure and Inclined Geostationary Orbit communication satellite (IGSO) to achieve the 3-D positioning. Furthermore, the abundant transponders available on DGEO can be used to realize the large capacity of communication as well as the integrated navigation and communication. With the communication functions incorporated, five new functions appear in the CAPS: (1) combination of navigation and communication; (2) combination of navigation and high accuracy orbit measurement; (3) combination of navigation message and wide/local area differential processing; (4) combination of the switching of satellites, frequencies and codes; and (5) combination of the navigation message and the barometric altimetry. The CAPS is thereby labelled a PVT5C system of high accuracy. In order to validate the working principle and the performance of the CAPS, a trial system was established in the course of two years at a cost of about 20 million dollars. The trial constellation consists of two GEO satellites located at E87.5° and E110.5°, two DGEOs located at E130° and E142°, as well as barometric altimetry as a virtual satellite. Static and dynamic performance tests were completed for the Eastern, the Western, the Northern, the Southern and the Middle regions of China. The evaluation results are as follows: (1) land static test, plane accuracy range: C/A code, 15~25 m; P code, 5~10 meters; altitude accuracy range, 1~3 m; (2) land dynamic test, plane accuracy range, C/A code, 15~25 m; P code, 8~10 m; (3) velocity accuracy, C/A code, 0.13~0.3 m s−1, P code, 0.15~0.17 m s−1; (4) timing accuracy, C/A code, 160 ns, P code, 13 ns; (5) timing compared accuracy of Two Way Satellite Time and Frequency Transfer (TWSTFT), average accuracy, 0.068 ns; (6) random error of the satellite ranging, 10.7 mm; (7) orbit determination accuracy, better than 2 m. The above stated random error is 1σ error. At present, this system is used as a preliminary operational system and a complete system with 3 GEO, 3 DGEO and 3 IGSO is being established.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1088/1009-9271/8/6/01


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