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Galileo-powered GNSS software solution to provide seamless navigation support for spacecrafts

The European Union’s Enhanced Navigation in Space (ENSPACE) project has announced significant progress in the development of a GNSS software solution to support Galileo, the EU’s navigation satellite system.

Coordinated by Qascom, the project is aimed at strengthening the rapidly growing small satellite market sector. The Galileo-enabled ENSPACE receiver has been made a part of the CubeSat mission BOBCAT-1, which was recently launched from the International Space Station (ISS), reported InsideGNSS.

Once its performance in space has been evaluated, researchers will work on further developing the solution and turning it into a complete GNSS receiver product. In addition, they will also look into whether the receiver can be integrated into launchers or satellites that are orbiting around the Moon.

The mission contexts of the ENSPACE project include:

  • LEO satellites for communication, broadband Internet services, and Earth Observation missions
  • MEO satellites for navigation
  • GEO satellites for broadband TV and Communications
  • Interplanetary missions such as satellites orbiting around the Moon or Mars
  • Launchers

The project was initiated by Qascom in 2016, using NASA’s software-defined radio platform called SCaN, attached to the exterior of the ISS. Initially, SCaN provided an orbiting laboratory on the space station for the development of software-defined radio technology for enhanced navigation and communication experimentations.

Samuele Fantinato, head of the Advanced Navigation Unit at Qascom, said, “In ENSPACE, we evolved this concept and invested in a new software GNSS solution that has been installed in commercial off-the-shelf hardware and is also compatible with other system-on-chip components. Our goal is to provide a reference product for navigation, positioning, and timing for Space missions that require a low-cost, secure and flexible software solution.”

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