Assessment of GPS Reflectometry from TechDemoSat-1 for Scatterometry and Altimetry Applications

Friday, 18 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
George A Hajj, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
The value of GPS reflectometry for scatterometry and altimetry applications has been a topic of investigation for the past two decades. TechDemoSat-1 (TDS-1), a technology demonstration satellite launched in July of 2014, with an instrument to collect GPS reflections from 4 GPS satellites simultaneously, provide the first extensive data that allows for validation and evaluation of GPS reflectometry from space against more established techniques. TDS-1 uses a high gain (~13 dBi) L1 antenna pointing 6 degrees off nadir with a 60ohalf-beam width. Reflected GPS L1 signals are processed into Delay Doppler Maps (DDMs) inside the receiver and made available (through Level-1b) along with metadata describing the bistatic geometry, antenna gain, etc., on a second-by-second basis for each of the 4 GPS tracks recorded at any given time.

In this paper we examine level-1b data from TDS-1 for thousands of tracks collected over the span of Jan.-Feb., 2015. This data corresponds to reflections from various types of surfaces throughout the globe including ice, deserts, forests, oceans, lakes, wetlands, etc. Our analysis will consider how the surface type manifests itself in the DDMs (e.g., coherence vs. non-coherence reflection) and derivable physical quantities. We will consider questions regarding footprint resolution, waveform rise time and corresponding bistatic range accuracy, and level of precision for altimetry (sea surface height) and scatterometry (significant wave height and sea surface wind). Tracks from TDS-1 that coincide with Jason-1 or 2 tracks will be analyzed, where the latter can be used as truth for comparison and validation. Where coincidences are found, vertical delay introduced by the media as measured by Jason will be mapped to bistatic propagation path to correct for neutral atmospheric and ionospheric delays.