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A Simulation of Reflected ADS-B Signals over the North Atlantic for a Spaceborne Receiver

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DOI: 10.4236/pos.2016.71005    3,264 Downloads   3,942 Views Citations


Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is an air traffic surveillance technology in which aircraft broadcast position, identification and status an average of 6.2 times per second on 1090 MHz. The Royal Military College of Canada has developed an ADS-B receiver that is scheduled to fly as a technology demonstrator on the Canadian Advanced Nanospace eXperiment-7 (CanX-7) nanosatellite. A signal propagation model was developed to determine the power level and number of signals that will be detected by CanX-7. Since the ADS-B messages are alternately transmitted from upper and lower antennas, both the direct and reflected signals were considered. A simulation using the model was run over the North Atlantic with aircraft data supplied by air traffic services and a satellite altitude of 800 km. Power at the receiver for reflected ADS-B signals ranged from -109.5 to -118 dBm depending on aircraft-satellite geometry and was approximately 18 dBm less than the direct path signal strength. With a sensitivity of -103 dBm, the CanX-7 ADS-B receiver should detect virtually all of the direct path signals while reflected signals are below the detection threshold. Although the reflected signals should not be a factor for the CanX-7 mission, they could be a consideration for a large operational satellite with a more sensitive receiver. The reception of both direct and reflected ADS-B signals from multiple aircraft could lead to signal collisions and subsequent loss of aircraft tracking information, particularly in coastal regions where there are additional sources of the 1090 MHz signal.

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Van Der Pryt, R. and Vincent, R. (2016) A Simulation of Reflected ADS-B Signals over the North Atlantic for a Spaceborne Receiver. Positioning, 7, 51-62. doi: 10.4236/pos.2016.71005.

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