The pioneering GPS Reflectometry Experiment was launched onboard SSTL’s UK-DMC satellite in 2003 to demonstrate the use of GPS reflections to determine the roughness of the ocean, using a method called “bistatic radar” or “forward scatterometry”. This experiment has now successfully detected a Galileo satellite navigation signal reflected by the ocean’s surface. GIOVE-A, the first Galileo demonstration satellite, also built by SSTL, was commissioned by the European Space Agency and has been transmitting prototype Galileo signals since its launch in December 2005.
Dr Martin Unwin, head of the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) / GPS team at SSTL explained: “This is an important achievement in remote sensing and demonstrates the potential offered by Galileo for scientific purposes. A constellation of small satellites could be deployed at low cost to take measurements over the oceans where there are large gaps in forecast knowledge at present. An improved measurement system in space could be used to warn mariners of storms and to provide data for global climate change models - potentially even to detect Tsunamis.”
In early November, 20 seconds of data were captured in orbit above the Arafura Sea, north of Australia, and downloaded to Surrey for processing. Whilst the orbiting experiment on UK-DMC is not optimised for Galileo signals, enough of the reflected signal energy was received to allow the detection and plotting of the weak signal after processing by University of Surrey PhD student, Philip Jales. The shape of the reflection gives an indication of the sea roughness and hence the weather at that place and time, where the wind speed was around 14 mph (22 km/h).
Dr Unwin continued: “Signals from Galileo, in conjunction with GPS and the Russian and Chinese systems, Glonass and Compass, can all be used as part of a new tool for ocean sensing. The future high bandwidth signals transmitted by Galileo, in particular, will enable higher resolution measurements of special interest to scientists, for example, in resolving wave heights”
GPS Reflectometry is of great interest to engineers and scientists as a cost effective means of remote sensing. Firstly, a special transmitter is not required because GPS signals are already broadcast to the Earth 24 hours a day. Also, a satellite dedicated to GPS reflectometry would only need to carry a modified miniaturised GPS/Galileo receiver and an antenna, which could potentially be accommodated on a tiny 10 kg satellite platform at low cost, enabling multiple satellites on a single launch.
The UK-DMC Reflectometry Experiment has also previously been used to detect GPS signals reflected off ice and, surprisingly, dry land. The value of these measurements has yet to be fully explored but they may be used as inputs for climate modelling.
A future revision of the experiment, the “GNSS Reflectometry Instrument” is now being designed at Surrey with a view to flight on a future satellite mission. It is being designed specifically to receive Galileo signals as well as those from GPS, with the intention of real time processing. “The sooner Galileo is up and transmitting the better” said Dr Unwin.
Robin Wolstenholme | alfa
Researchers 3-D print electronics and cells directly on skin
26.04.2018 | University of Minnesota
Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials
25.04.2018 | Carnegie Mellon University
Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...
At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.
Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...
Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.
Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
26.04.2018 | Life Sciences
26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering