10 August 2012
RMIT signs up to COMPASS
RMIT University has cemented an agreement with Wuhan University in China to collaborate on initial research and testing of the next generation of satellite navigation.
The Chinese COMPASS/Beidou next-generation Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) will complement similar next-generation GNSS systems being developed by the US (GPS), Russia (Glonass), Europe (Galileo) and Japan (QZSS).
The COMPASS/Beidou constellation will improve the accuracy, availability, reliability and integrity of current GNSS and provide new services to meet the needs of a wide range of users.
Currently, the COMPASS/Beidou system consists of 13 satellites:
- five in geostationary orbits (GEO);
- five in inclined geosynchronous orbits (IGSO); and
- three in medium earth orbits (MEO).
The full COMPASS/Beidou GNSS constellation due to be completed by 2020 will provide comprehensive global GNSS services and will consist of 35 satellites - 27 in MEO, five in GEO and three in IGSO.
The RMIT agreement is to participate in data collection, initial research and testing of the COMPASS/Beidou constellation.
Wuhan University will provide the RMIT SPACE Research Centre with two geodetic GPS/COMPASS dual system receivers to be located on Bundoora campus.
They will be placed at a permanent GNSS tracking station currently being built by the School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences.
Professor Kefei Zhang, Director of the RMIT SPACE Research Centre, said: "Australia is the first nation outside of Asia and one of the few countries in the world to receive the Chinese Beidou signals.
"Early 'inside' knowledge and preparation is critical for the Australian space industry to evaluate and develop new observational techniques.
"These will be primarily for positioning, navigation and timing and to gain an improved understanding of climate, extreme weather and natural hazards in the Australian region using this critical new space infrastructure."
The RMIT SPACE Research Centre and Wuhan University already enjoy a strong collaborative history through research alignment, the Australian Government's Department of Industry, Innovation, Science and Research's International Science Linkage program, collaborative software exchange and academic visits.
This agreement will further strengthen collaborative ties with Wuhan University and China.
"Australia will be the only southern hemisphere country that can have a good coverage of the Beidou signals during its development phase and there are tremendous opportunities for us to develop cutting-edge technologies and exploit innovative applications," Professor Zhang said.
"It will provide RMIT SPACE Research Centre staff and students access to a new data source which will enhance the quality of research being done at the Centre and ensure that RMIT is positioned at the forefront of Australian and international space science research."
The RMIT SPACE Research Centre is a multi-disciplinary and international collaboration supported through the Federal Government's Australian Space Research Program.
The current COMPASS/Beidou constellation, with seven satellites visible over the Australian region.
A COMPASS/Beidou satellite.
The RMIT GNSS tracking station.
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