Robust Receiver in Development for Critical Infrastructure - Inside GNSS - Global Navigation Satellite Systems Engineering, Policy, and Design

Robust Receiver in Development for Critical Infrastructure

The European GNSS Agency (GSA) awarded a contract for the development of the Galileo-based TIming Receiver for CriticAl INfrastructure Robustness (GIANO) to Thales Alenia Space, for resistance against interference, jamming and spoofing.

The timing receiver for professional applications addresses the needs of the energy generation and distribution grid, telecommunications, financial operators and other users in the critical infrastructure community.

The GIANO receiver will leverage Galileo and European Geostationary Overlay Service (EGNOS)-driven tools to improve resilience of the receiver against interference, jamming and spoofing and increase the accuracy and reliability of the time transfer service. The timing platform prototype will integrate innovative technologies, including professional products from Thales Alenia Space, paving the way for future Galileo-based timing receivers that offer improved resilience and accuracy at a reasonable cost.

Outreach activities among potential end users in the main commercial target groups collected and analyzed their needs. Development began in February and a Preliminary Design Review took place at the end of November.

The receiver development is based on the last generation of Thales Alenia Space, Italy (TAS-I) GNSS multi-constellation, multi-frequency receivers with heritage from several operational ground reference stations. The receiver uses Galileo and GPS signals providing dual-frequency capability in the L1/E1 and L5/E5a bands where the signals broadcast by the two navigation systems overlap. The receiver is intended to exploit the Navigation Message Authentication Service to be provided on the Open Service by Galileo and future authentication services to protect the transmitted code. Disciplined oscillators include OCXOs and Rb frequency standards to tailor the performance in the holdover mode to the application.

Since the inclusion of a timing receiver in a certified time distribution system implies the certification of the receiver itself, a continuous self-calibration approach is being studied to allow monitoring the internal delays along the full signal path by injecting a reference signal at the antenna. To ensure the integrity of the RF path from the antenna down to the receiver (which is important for certification purposes), the delay measurements would allow compensating fluctuations in the delay along the signal path due to environmental changes.

The GIANO receiver is the focus of a presentation to be made at the Institute of Navigation International Technical Meeting in San Diego in January.

The two-year project will be coordinated by Thales Alenia Space in Italy, in collaboration with four European partners: Business Integration Partners S.p.A (BIP, Italy), PIKTime Systems (Poland), Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Science (SRC PAS, Poland) and DEIMOS (Portugal). Also, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the Italian National Metrology Institute (INRIM), for testing and verification of the developed equipment.