Hummingbird: Energy efficient GPS receiver for small satellites

S. Narayana, R. V. Prasad, V. Rao, L. Mottola, T. V. Prabhakar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Global Positioning System is a widely adopted localization technique. With the increasing demand for small satellites, the need for a low-power GPS for satellites is also increasing. To enable many state-of-the-art applications, the exact position of the satellites is necessary. However, building low-power GPS receivers which operate in low earth orbit pose significant challenges. This is mainly due to the high speed (∼7.8 km/s) of small satellites. While duty-cycling the receiver is a possible solution, the high relative Doppler shift between the GPS satellites and the small satellite contributes to the increase in Time To First Fix (TTFF), thus increasing the energy consumption. Further, if the GPS receiver is tumbling along with the small satellite on which it is mounted, longer TTFF may lead to no GPS fix due to disorientation of the receiver antenna. In this paper, we elucidate the design of a low-cost, low-power GPS receiver for small satellite applications. We also propose an energy optimization algorithm called F3to improve the TTFF which is the main contributor to the energy consumption during cold start. With simulations and in-orbit evaluation from a launched nanosatellite with our μGPS and high-end GPS simulators, we show that up to 96.16% of energy savings (consuming only ∼ 1/25th energy compared to the state of the art) can be achieved using our algorithm without compromising much (∼10 m) on the navigation accuracy. The TTFF achieved is at most 33 s.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 26th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MobiCom 2020
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450370851
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event26th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MobiCom 2020 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 21 Sept 202025 Sept 2020


Conference26th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MobiCom 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
OtherVirtual/online event due to COVID-19

Bibliographical note

Virtual/online event due to COVID-19


  • attitude
  • GNSS
  • GPS
  • navigation
  • positioning
  • satellite
  • time to first fix
  • TTFF


Dive into the research topics of 'Hummingbird: Energy efficient GPS receiver for small satellites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this