Livermore, California, December 29, 2005–Revolutionary technology developed by Topcon Positioning Systems came closer to being used on job sites worldwide December 28 when the first satellite in the European Union’s (EU) Galileo navigation program was launched.
For Topcon users, the launch – and the launch of three additional GLONASS satellites on Christmas Day – puts the spotlight on the company’s Paradigm G3 chip – a groundbreaking new technology for satellite positioning systems. This pioneer development is the first satellite receiver technology with Universal Signal Tracking, a system capable of tracking all signals from all three satellite positioning systems: GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo.
G3 technology makes Topcon the only precision GPS supplier to provide its users with all available signals today, and now extends that commitment to include all signals into the foreseeable future.
The Galileo satellite was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz rocket. A second satellite is scheduled to be placed in orbit in the spring with two more satellites to follow to complete the testing phase of the EU program.
Topcon developed G3 to provide access to Galileo satellites being launched by the European Space Agency, and new signals that will result from the modernization of the GPS constellation. Topcon products currently offer GPS+ technology, enabling access to both U.S. GPS and Russian GLONASS satellite systems.
The EU and United States agreed in 2005 to make Galileo compatible with the U.S. GPS system, thus enabling maximum use and efficiencies from precise positioning information from the constellations.
The $4 billion Galileo project will eventually have 30 satellites in orbit.
Of the Galileo satellite launch, Eduardo Falcon, Topcon senior vice president of product development, said, “When these three satellite systems are fully operational, users of G3 products will have access to more than 80 positioning satellites. Access to this wide range of satellites will make expanded applications, unprecedented performance, and unparalleled precision possible.”
To process multiple signals from multiple satellite systems, Topcon engineered the new Paradigm-G3 chip at its Moscow Technology Center. It is capable of receiving GPS L1, L2 and L5 carrier frequencies; C/A and L2C civilian codes; and P-code on both L1 and L2 frequencies. It also receives GLONASS signals including L1 and L2 carrier frequencies and L1 / L2 C/A and P-codes. The entire Galileo signal structure is supported, including L1, E1, E2, E5, and E6 signals. The advanced design features 72 tracking channels and operates with minimal power consumption.
The new chip will be the basis for a new generation of Topcon GPS+ products and will first appear in the new Net-G3 reference receiver, providing network hardware ready to support all satellite signals for the highest possible service to all networks users into the future.
Galileo will more than double current GPS coverage, according to press reports, providing worldwide satellite navigation for construction and optical surveying projects and for other uses including by motorists, sailors, and mapmakers. In particular, Galileo was designed to improve satellite coverage in high-latitude areas such as northern Europe and Canada.
Six non-EU nations – China, India, Israel, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine – have joined the program set up by the European Commission and European Space Agency, and discussions are underway with other countries to take part.
The EU will allocate an initial $1.2 billion over the next several years to fund deployment and commercial operations of the satellite system.