Correlation of GPS signal fades due to ionospheric scintillation for aviation applications

Jiwon Seo, Todd Walter, Per Enge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Deep and frequent Global Positioning System (GPS) signal fading due to strong ionospheric scintillation is a major concern for GPS-guided aviation in equatorial areas during high solar activity. A GPS aviation receiver may lose carrier tracking lock under deep fading, and a lost channel cannot be used for position calculation until lock is reestablished. Hence, frequent loss of lock due to frequent fading can significantly reduce the availability of GPS aviation. However, the geometric diversity of the satellites can mitigate scintillation impact on GPS aviation depending on the correlation level of deep fades between satellites. This paper proposes a metric to measure the correlation level of two fading channels from the perspective of GPS aviation. Using this metric, the satellite-to-satellite correlation is studied based on real scintillation data. The low satellite-to-satellite correlation shown in this paper envisions notable availability benefit from the geometric diversity of satellites under strong scintillation. In addition, this paper proposes a way to generate correlated fading processes with arbitrary correlation coefficients. Using this correlated fading process model, the availability of Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance (LPV)-200 under severe scintillation scenarios is analyzed. The result emphasizes the importance of a fast reacquisition capability of an aviation receiver after a brief outage, which is not currently mandated by the aviation receiver performance standards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1777-1788
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2011 May 17

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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