Antennas as Precise Sensors for GNSS Reference Stations and High-Performance PNT Applications on Earth and in Space

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Jun 18;21(12):4192. doi: 10.3390/s21124192.


Satellite navigation is more and more important in a plethora of very different application fields, ranging from bank transactions to shipping, from autonomous driving to aerial applications, such as commercial avionics as well as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In very precise positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) applications, such as in reference stations and precise timing stations, it is important to characterize all errors present in the system in order to account possibly for them or calibrate them out. Antennas play an important role in this respect: they are indeed the "sensor" that capture the signal in space from global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and thereby strongly contribute to the overall achievable performance. This paper reviews the currently available antenna technologies, targeting specifically reference stations as well as precise GNSS antennas for space applications, and, after introducing performance indicators, summarizes the currently achievable performance. Finally, open research issues are identified, and possible approaches to solve them are discussed.

Keywords: GNSS; PNT; antenna; multipath; precise positioning; reference station; satellite.

Publication types

  • Review