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Spirent's GPS/GNSS History

Spirent Federal Systems, a proxy company, offers the world's leading GNSS simulation equipment to U.S. Government customers and prime contractors.

Spirent has a long and illustrious record of supplying satellite navigation test equipment to all sectors of the GPS/GNSS market. This track record displays a firm commitment by Spirent to maintaining its products at the leading edge of customer requirements and in response to application developments in this arena. Spirent GNSS test equipment is widely chosen by major manufacturers, integrators and test facilities and Space Agencies.

Throughout its history Spirent has always sought to understand customers' needs for GNSS testing. The developments outlined below reflect how GNSS testing requirements have changed over the past 22 years. Throughout this period Spirent has remained at the forefront of GNSS testing, initially with GPS then progressively to include SBAS, GLONASS, LAAS, integrated system testing, Galileo, Compass and QZSS technology.

1985: Awarded a contract from UK Government to develop and supply a multi-channel GPS simulator capable of allowing a prototype GPS receiver to navigate in a number of different scenarios including Airborne and Shipborne environments.

1987: GPS simulator delivered to the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) to support classified testing.

1988: RAE contract extended to include provision of full SA-A/S capability, which was duly delivered in 1988.

1988: Decision taken to develop a commercial GPS Simulator (STR2740 system). This system used separate signal generator chassis to provide one satellite-per-chassis at IF with a separate IF combiner and dual frequency RF up-converter. Up to 10 satellites could be accommodated. System software was also extended to support receivers operating on spacecraft.


1991: Company embarks on a radical development of a brand new simulator that would be run on a desktop VMS workstation rather than the floor standing Microvax2. The result was the STR2760 that was launched at the ION-GPS-1991 convention. This was the product that revolutionized the GPS simulator market as it offered twice as many signal generation channels in a single bench-top unit.

1994: The simulation software acquired a Graphical User Interface via DEC Windows. In that year, the capability of the STR2760 was extended to support high precision attitude determination, a capability enabled by the precise control of carrier phase.

1994: GPS JPO Security Approval is obtained for simulating SA/A-S capabilities on a Spirent simulator.

1997: Launch of the STR4760 simulator. This was a completely re-engineered version of the STR2760 but with double the channel density with DDS now effected using FPGA technology instead of ASIC. This new technology increased the flexibility of the product such that signals like WAAS could be implemented on the same hardware.

1998: The STR4780, the first commercial GLONASS constellation simulator launched.

1999: The STR4790 simulator launched, which makes each satellite signal available at a separate RF output to support CRPA testing.

2001: Spirent's STR4760 simulator submitted for evaluation under the GPS JPO's Enhanced Validation Test Program (EVTP). An exhaustive series of tests is run to determine the fidelity of simulation against a known good set of real-world data. The STR4760 completes the tests successfully without reservation or restriction.

2001: Spirent Federal was established as a proxy company.

2002: Spirent introduces SimGEN for Windows® user interface, to replace VMS control software.

2003: Spirent launches the new GSS7700 series GPS/SBAS simulator. The GSS7700 enables support for Binary Offset Carrier signals such as those used within GPS M-code and the planned Galileo system.

2003/4: Spirent ships first L2C, L5 and AES M-code simulators.

2005: Spirent introduces extended capabilities to support GPS/inertial testing both in cars (SimAUTO) and the air (SimINERTIAL). Data analysis capabilities enhanced via data streaming and manipulation features.

2006: Spirent selected to provide Galileo RF Constellation Simulators to support the Galileo Ground Mission Segment and Test User Segment elements of Galileo In Orbit Validation. Spirent delivers GSS7800 L1, E5ab, E6 Galileo simulators.

2007: Spirent introduces the GSS7900 GPS/Galileo simulator which supports the free-to-use signals from GPS and Galileo. The new dual-constellation simulator is derived from Spirent's "industry standard" GSS7700 GPS simulator and the GSS7800 Galileo simulator that Spirent developed during 2006 to support the test needs of the Galileo Ground Mission Segment and Test User Segment programs.

2007: Spirent Federal is the first company to receive GPS Wing Security Approval for a simulator that meets all the requirements for Modernized User Equipment (MUE), including the new SDS M-Code capabilities.

2008: Spirent launches the new GSS8000 GNSS Constellation Simulator. Up to 3 RF carriers, selected from a range of constellations and signals (GPS, Galileo and GLONASS ), can be accommodated in a single signal generator chassis enabling multiple signals from a single constellation or hybrid systems with signals from multiple constellations to be tested.

2008: Spirent is the first to simulate the Japanese Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) in addition to GPS, Galileo, GLONASS and SBAS.

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