Global Navigation Satellite System

A satellite navigation system with global coverage may be termed a global navigation satellite system or GNSS.

As of October 2011, the United States NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS are fully globally operational GNSSs. The People’s Republic of China is in the process of expanding its regional Beidou navigation system into the global Compass navigation system by 2020. The European Union’s Galileo positioning system is a GNSS in initial deployment phase, scheduled to be fully operational by 2020 at the earliest. Several countries including France, Japan and India are in the process of developing regional navigation systems.

Global coverage for each system is generally achieved by a satellite constellation of 20–30 Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites spread between several orbital planes. The actual systems vary, but use orbit inclinations of >50° and orbital periods of roughly twelve hours (height 20,000 km / 12,500 miles).



GNSS/GPS – Suppliers