October 01, 2018
Joel J. Parker, Frank H. Bauer, Benjamin W. Ashman, James J. Miller, Werner Enderle, Daniel Blonski

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), now routinely used for navigation by spacecraft in low Earth orbit, are being used increasingly by high-altitude users in geostationary orbit and high eccentric orbits as well, near to and above the GNSS constellations themselves. Available signals in these regimes are very limited for any single GNSS constellation due to the weak signal strength, the blockage of signals by the Earth, and the limited number of satellites. But with the recent development of multiple GNSS constellations and ongoing upgrades to existing constellations, multi-GNSS signal availability is set to improve significantly. This will only be achieved if these signals are designed to be interoperable and are clearly documented and supported.All satellite navigation constellation providers are working together through the United Nations International Committee on GNSS (ICG) to establish an interoperable multi-GNSS Space Service Volume (SSV) for the benefit of all GNSS space users. The multi-GNSS SSV represents a common set of baseline definitions and assumptions for high-altitude service in space, documents the service provided by each constellation, and provides a framework for continued support for space users. This paper provides an overview of the GNSS SSV concept, development, status, and achievements within the ICG. It describes the final adopted definition and performance characteristics of the GNSS SSV, as well as the numerous benefits and use cases enabled by this development, and summarizes extensive technical analysis that was performed to illustrate these benefits in terms of signal availability, both on a global scale, and for multiple distinct mission types.