The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) of the United Kingdom has announced a partnership with OneWeb to collaborate on Position, Timing, and Navigation (PNT) capabilities for the company’s second-generation satellite constellation. NPL, which is the national measurement standards laboratory of the UK, will work with OneWeb on the design of the PNT system time scale for their Gen 2 satellites, as well as certifying OneWeb’s Gen 1 Timing service.
PNT capabilities have been a topic of discussion for OneWeb’s second-generation constellation, as the first generation only offers satellite communications and not PNT services. The inclusion of PNT services came after the UK acquired a share of OneWeb following its bankruptcy. Due to Brexit, the UK does not have full access to Europe’s Galileo global navigation satellite system (GNSS), including an encrypted secure component reserved for military, emergency services, and government agencies.
As part of the memorandum of understanding (MoU), OneWeb and NPL will explore opportunities for OneWeb to access a service node from NPL’s National Timing Centre program (NTC). The NTC program aims to develop the UK’s first nationally distributed time infrastructure, reducing reliance on GNSS.
In a statement, NPL expressed its support for OneWeb’s mission to improve connectivity and remove barriers for economies and communities. The collaboration between NPL and OneWeb aims to overcome national needs in the field of PNT capabilities.