RIN positions itself as the UK’s leading PNT body
Specifically, the RIN PNT (positional navigation and timing) Advisory Group was recently formed by the professional body, in November 2022, and has held its first public seminar on the subject of LEO (Low Earth Orbit) PNT.
Held at Inmarsat headquarters in London (right), the group’s event was supported both by Inmarsat itself and OneWeb with the aim to better understand the challenges of providing PNT services from large satellite constellations. Rather than re-covering existing ground the intention is to address new challenges and applications.
Taking place under the Chatham House Rule for reportage, the event covered whether LEO PNT will supplement existing GNSS services or provide new alternatives, the technical issue involved, the possible business cases and the role of customers or clients in the ecosystem. As well as the advantage of numbers and improved coverage, a LEO constellation – working in a less difficult radiation environment – is twenty closer to earth than one in MEO (medium Earth orbit) it was noted.
For example, the seminar covered vulnerabilities with existing GNSS provision, issues around resilience (for example against jamming and spoofing), and the scope for potential new markets, whether in agritech, automotive, fintech or critical infrastructure.
Technological possibilities were clearly revealed. As was the lack of clear cut business models, however. The question of who would or should pay hovered over all proceedings.
The current status of the OneWeb constellation was also outlined.
From 16 launches, 542 satellites are currently operational, towards a planned total of 588, with the next two launches completing the constellation
Launches 17 and 18 are expected by the end of March, and this represents a cadence of one launch per month if you ignore two major pauses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine (which impacted planned launches from Baikonur).
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Royal Institute of Navigation, which was founded in 1947. Its aims include uniting in one body those interested in navigation and to help advance the art, science and practice of navigation.
The Inmarsat HQ was, of course, the epicentre of the London tech cluster formerly known as the Silicon Roundabout, being based by the Old Street roundabout…
See also: UK Space Agency allocates £50m for satellite comms projects