Japan Prepares Navigation System to Enhance GPS

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The United States isn’t the only country aiming to upgrade or improve their current GPS satellite constellation. The developer helping Japan create its own satellite navigation system, Core Corp., recently showcased a signal receiver unit at the 2012 Embedded Technology show that is designed to obtain more accurate global positioning information.


Japan is getting ready to deploy the Quazi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), regional navigation techology. Tokyo’s Core Corp. said on November 14. Their highly accurate signal receiver unit will not only function with the QZSS, but the current GPS system already in place. The first satellite in the QZSS constellation was launched in 2010,and was named Michibiki. The country has plans to launch an additional three QZSS satellites before the year 2020.


The goal of implementing this new navigation system is to enhance the current Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) regionally. Japan and other areas in the western Pacific Ocean will be covered by the QZSS signals.


Ryo Kurokawa, part of Core’s advanced embedded technology center, said the receiver the company has developed is capable of receiving both QZSS “availability enhancement signals,” offering better GPS coverage and QZSS “performance enhancement signals,” providing a more accurate and reliable method of acquiring more precise GPS data.


Japan isn’t the only country working on their own GPS satellite constellation. Russia’s GLONASS system is now operational, while the Galileo system is being in the works by the European Union. Compass is a GPS system currently being developed by China, and here in the US, we are overhauling our own GPS constellation by replacing aging vehicles with brand new GPS-III satellites.


“We are in an era of the gold rush for satellite launches,” Kurokawa said. He predicts that by 2018, there will be about 140 satellites launched.

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Khristen Foss

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