European Commission AltPNT Demonstration

DHS, DOT, and NIST have closely studied STL in the United States and determined that it is a robust reliable source of PNT information. Now the European Commission has done the same by including STL in its recent assessment of PNT technologies. Rigorous testing conducted by EC evaluators confirmed that STL performed well in all categories, proving once again that Satelles delivers a service with the accuracy and reliability to ensure the resilience of critical infrastructure operations that require a trustworthy source of PNT.

Background

Satelles was awarded a contract in October 2021 to participate in a demonstration and evaluation of alternative PNT technologies conducted by the European Commission (EC) Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space (DEFIS).

As stated by the EC, the aim of this project was to “analyse the technologies which could deliver positioning and/or timing information independently from GNSS, to be effective backup in the event of GNSS disruption, and if possible, to be able to provide PNT in the environments where GNSS cannot be delivered.”

STL was subjected to a range of performance and operational tests in a technical evaluation conducted at the EC’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra, Italy.

Study

DEFIS personnel subjected STL and other participants’ technologies to a series of intensive evaluations at the EC’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra, Italy, between October 2021 and January 2022.

Satelles participated in six separate JRC tests:

  • System Verification
  • Indoor Timing Test
  • Hundred-Day Timing Test Using Roof Mounted Antenna (*)
  • Resilience and Network Monitoring
  • Static Position Test Using Roof Mounted Antenna
  • Static Position Test Using Indoor Antenna

* Satelles was the only vendor that participated in the 100-day test.

Demonstration Day

Satelles showcased the performance of STL during a VIP event in Ispra, Italy, on May 18, 2022. Policy makers and dignitaries from the European Commission, the European Space Agency, and EU member states attended live demonstrations and heard presentations from each participating vendor, including Dr. Michael O’Connor, CEO of Satelles.

In his presentation, Dr. O’Connor highlighted results from some of the tests, most notably the following:

Indoor Timing Test

The evaluation for indoor timing was conducted in two locations for a period of one day each. The first location was with the receiver antenna positioned on top of a metal cabinet in the center of the ground floor of a building at the JRC complex. To test STL in a degraded signal environment, a separate test was conducted with the antenna placed inside the same metal cabinet. Test results showed that STL operated with 100% availability and continuity in both scenarios.

Timing accuracy of less than 200 nanoseconds compared to UTC was achieved with the antenna on top of the cabinet, which would be a standard antenna placement for typical indoor applications. Even with intentional signal degradation, a timing accuracy measurement of 340 nanoseconds compared to UTC was achieved — and this was with the antenna placed inside a metal cabinet which itself was located on the ground floor of a large building.

Hundred-Day Timing Test

The outdoor test was conducted using a roof-mounted antenna, with results showcasing the exemplary performance of STL. The commercially available timing solution from Satelles performed flawlessly and continuously without a signal from GNSS not only for the 1-day and 14-day test periods but also for a full 100 days with 100% availability and continuity.

Additionally, STL successfully completed a 100-day test in the absence of a GNSS signal. Timing accuracies in the range of 100 to 150 nanoseconds were achieved, with exceptional stability as well, proving that STL is a reliable and accurate source of time.

NOTE: Inside GNSS recapped the JRC’s Demonstration Day in a late-July article.

Final Report

The EC’s Joint Research Centre created a web page for the AltPNT study in December 2022 in advance of a comprehensive report detailing the evaluation methodology and previewing the full results that are expected to be published in Q1 2023.