The deployment of the Icarus-1 drag sail, which was supplied by Cranfield University, marks the end of mission operations for SSTL’s TechDemoSat-1. This sail increases the cross-sectional area of the satellite and hence atmospheric drag to speed up reentry.
SSTL posted a press release announcing the deployment. Jonathan Amos from the BBC tweeted with a special mention of the achievements of TDS-1 in GNSS Reflectometry.
Meanwhile SSTL staff members are working on an upcoming satellite mission carrying an opportunistic GNSS reflectometry experiment. We hope to bring you news about this new project very soon.
Routine DDM collection from the SGR-ReSI on TechDemoSat-1 ceased in December 2018, and since then, operators have been making preparations for the drag-sail deployment. This has required controlled passivation of the satellite, which includes the slow expulsion of all remaining propellant from the propulsion tanks.
During gaps in this preparation period, we have been able to make a final handful of L0 raw data collections from TDS-1, to add to the collections we have gathered through its 5 year lifetime.
As well as C/A code signals from GPS, we have been targeting E1B/C reflections from the Galileo satellites, and other signals that fall within the SGR-ReSI’s frequency band. The Galileo signals are wider in bandwidth than GPS C/A code, and use BOC modulation. These new signals are somewhat more complex to process, but to a first order, we see similar behaviour in the DDMs to GPS C/A code reflections over ocean, land and ice. This is good news as it shows the practicality of using Galileo alongside GPS reflections in our upcoming GNSS-R missions.
We at SSTL, together with partners from NOC, will be presenting recent results from TDS-1 at the GNSS+R 2019 workshop 20-22nd May 2019 in Benevento, Italy. We look forward to meeting many of you there.
We are sad to announce that life extension of TechDemoSat-1 for supporting MERRByS is coming to an end. Routine GNSS-R data collection will cease this weekend (16th Dec 2018), and the GNSS reflectometry service will not resume in January. The SGR-ReSI was just one of the 8 technology experiments, and the final demonstration on TDS-1 is the de-orbit sail; this will be deployed early in 2019.
SSTL and NOC have plans for the flight of future GNSS Reflectometry instruments to continue what TDS-1 started, so watch this space!
In the meantime, we will keep maintaining the website and data repository.
Thank you for your ongoing interest in and participation with this GNSS-Reflectometry project. We continue to welcome feedback into a potential future GNSS-R service.
There are three significant updates to announce for the MERRByS service.
Mission extension – Continuous GNSS-R
The TDS-1 mission ended and since February 2018 it has been operating with a mission extension. The SGR-ReSI is now running 7/7 days, rather than the 2/8 as in the first 3 years. This is increasing the coverage and sampling by a factor of 4.
To support continuous operations the DDMs are now selected onboard to only those with antenna gain > 0dB, and compressed using a variable quantisation rate. We are not expecting users to see differences from this compression process. Further details are available on request and will be put in the Product Manual in due course. The L1b version has been increased to V0.71 to support the compression.
Data update every 6 hours
The 2nd announcement is that MERRByS is now being updated every 6 hours with new data to the FTP server. There are two streams of data available.
1 Month latency
Apply for account password, as before by the registration page
Fast Data Users:
24-48 hour latency
Providing pilot data service – demo of data release within 1-2 days of measurement
Additional interaction with SSTL & NOC – support and feedback
The 3rd announcement is that the L2_CBRE (Calibrated Bistatic Radar Equation) V0.5 Algorithm has been incorporated into MERRByS. The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) have developed this algorithm to use additional receiver and transmitter corrections to improves the wind-speed measurement. This is the algorithm as presented in GNSS+R 2017, incorporated into MERRByS.
It should be noted that this is currently preliminary work and is expected to be updated soon with a new version. Currently the coverage is sparse due to a known flagging issue.
We will currently be putting the CBRE and FDI ocean wind speed products alongside each other.
The focus for GNSS-Reflectometry with the SGR-ReSI is to measure geophysical parameters such as ocean wind-speed and mean-squared-slope. This is performed by receiving the GPS navigation signals reflected from the Earth, measuring the power and signal distortion caused by the reflection then inferring back the parameters of the surface.
One of the factors that affect the reflection power measurement is the power level transmitted by each of the GNSS satellites. There is variation between each GPS transmitter and over their antenna patterns.
The SGR-ReSI uses the signals directly from the GPS transmitters for navigation and for the steering of the DDM processing to the location of the reflection. The power of the direct signals is measured onboard with a similar setup to that used for the reflections.
With the last update to MERRByS the direct signal power measurements were exported to NetCDF file and released. These contain the time-series of our direct signal power measurments. The DirectSignalPower.nc files have now been replaced on MERRByS with version 0.3. Additional fields have been added and a number of corrections to the fields, so that now radiometric calibration can be performed on the data.
The Direct Signal Power file is in NetCDF format and contains self documenting headers that can be inspected from the file itself. There are some minor updates in a new version of the MERRByS Product Manual V4.
The Level 2 FDI wind-speed data has been updated to include measurements at high and low latitudes.
The processing remains FDI V1.11.
Originally a filter of 55 degree latitude was used to be sure that sea ice was excluded from the retrieval. The new approach filters using a sea-ice map so that our measurements continue closer to the Arctic and Antarctic.
Below are the availability of L2 wind-speed product,