by Lilia Guan

Government ups the ante on securing Australia with satellites

May 06, 2019

Geoscience Australiais looking for partners to help build, operate and maintain the Australian Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS) under $160.9 million, four-year project. The funding is part of the government’s $225 million allocated in the federal budget for better positioning systems for Australia.

According to tender documents, SBAS will expand global navigation satellite system (GNSS) positioning to support the aviation, maritime, rail and road transport sectors — which have a requirement for high-integrity positioning with guaranteed performance.

SBAS would also support a precise correction capability that can deliver decimetre accurate services across all of Australia and its maritime zones — which will also apply to the agriculture, maritime, mining, and spatial/construction sectors.

The government wants the Australian SBAS to fill current gaps in mobile and radio telecommunications coverage – and ensure accurate and reliable positioning information can be received anytime and anywhere across land and sea.

The RFI paper states Geoscience Australia will be responsible for the provision of three services to users in Australia:

1. L1 The L1 service is expected to augment the Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation only over the GPS L1 frequency. This signal will be used as a safety critical system and therefore should be certified by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

The L1 service is expected to provide sub-metre horizontal accuracies. The L1 service is required to support aviation applications that require localiser performance with vertical guidance (LPV) with a decision height of 200 feet (61 m), i.e. LPV200 approaches.

2. DFMC The Dual-Frequency Multi-Constellation (DFMC) service is expected to incorporate two GNSS constellations over two frequencies. The service should provide sub-metre accuracy and have the potential to be SoL certified for aviation and other sectors in the future.

3. PPP The Precise Point Positioning (PPP) service is expected to provide horizontal accuracies of 10-15cm to a range of industries, over frequencies allocated to the L-band aeronautical radio navigation-satellite. It is anticipated that the PPP service will have convergence times of approximately 30 minutes, providing L1 accuracies before converging to the 10-15cm horizontal accuracy. Geoscience Australia states it prefers an open access PPP service that should be able to be incorporated onto mass market GNSS devices.

Other considerations will include:

  • All services should be open access with a minimum operating lifetime of 15 years
  • The system should be compliant with the safety-of-life requirements
  • The system should be developed consistent with the processes and requirements
  • Subject to security considerations, on-going operations, monitoring and maintenance functions may be hosted outside of the Geoscience Australia premises and systems
  • In addition to the signals transmitted from space, a single SBAS correction stream should be transmitted over the internet to Geoscience Australia
  • The system should be designed and implemented so as to prepare for/be best placed towards a future safety-of-life certification of the DFMC service
  • The system should be scoped to prepare for further future enhancement with emergency warning system messaging and/or service authentication
  • The system should be scoped to prepare for/be best placed for extension to include coverage across New Zealand and their maritime zones.