, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 227-237
Date: 06 Feb 2007

Single epoch estimation of the Galileo integrity chain sensor station clock offsets

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Abstract

The Galileo integrity chain depends on a number of key factors, one of which is contamination of the signal-in-space errors with residual errors other than imperfect modelling of satellite orbits and clocks. A potential consequence of this is that the user protection limit is driven not by the errors associated with the imperfect orbit and clock modelling, but by the distortions induced by noise and bias in the integrity chain. These distortions increase the minimum bias the integrity chain can guarantee to detect, which is reflected in the user protection limit. A contributor to this distortion is the inaccuracy associated with the estimation of the offset between the Galileo sensor station (GSS) receiver clocks and the Galileo system time (GST). This offset is termed the receiver clock synchronization error (CSE). This paper describes the research carried out to determine both the CSE and its associated error using GPS data as captured with the Galileo System Test Bed Version 1 (GSTB-V1). In the study we simulate open access to a time datum using IGS data. Two methods are compared for determining CSE and the corresponding uncertainty (noise) across a global network of tracking stations. The single-epoch single-station method is an ‘averaging’ technique that uses a single epoch of data, and is carried out at individual sensor stations, without recourse to the data from other stations. The global network solution method is also single epoch based, but uses the inversion of a linearised model of the global system to solve for the CSE simultaneously at all GSS along with a number of other parameters that would otherwise be absorbed into the CSE estimate in the averaging technique. To test the effectiveness of various configurations in the two methods the estimated synchronisation errors across the GSS network (comprising 25 stations) are compared to the same values as estimated by the International GPS Service (IGS) using a global tracking network of around 150 stations, as well as precise orbit and satellite clock models determined by a combination of global analysis centres. The results show that the averaging technique is vulnerable to unmodelled errors in the satellite clock offsets from system time, leading to receiver CSE errors in the region of 12 ns (3.7 m), this value being largely driven by the satellite CSE errors. The global network approach is capable of delivering CSE errors at the level of 1.5 ns (46 cm) depending on the number of parameters in the linearised model. The International GNSS Service (IGS) receiver clock estimates were used as a truth model for comparative assessment.