Kepler – DLR’s proposal for the next generation of satellite navigation

Kepler aims at the provision of signals for global centimeter accuracy and at ensuring real-time monitoring for integrity. These goals shall be achieved using optical intersatellite links and an additional LEO constellation of 6 satellites. The optical links shall ensure a tight synchronization amongst satellites and a precise ranging between them. Kepler’s ground segment could potentially be reduced to a single monitoring station. The orbital error in radial direction would remain below 1 centimeter, even in such an extreme configuration. Two variants of Kepler are considered: a fast deployment option and a high precision option. The former variant uses space proven components and draws its time stability from ultra-stable quartz oscillators. It can be built and tested right away. The high precision variant on the other hand draws its stability from lasers stabilized by an optical cavity and uses frequency combs to couple the modulation and phase of the optical signals.


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