Commercial GNSS Radio Occultation on Aerial Platforms With Off-The-Shelf Receivers

Bryan C. Chan, Ashish Goel, Jonathan Kosh, Tyler G. R. Reid, Corey R. Snyder, Paul M. Tarantino, Saraswati Soedarmadji, Widyadewi Soedarmadji, Kevin Nelson, Feiqin Xie, and Michael Vergalla

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: In recent decades, GNSS radio occultation (RO) soundings have proven to be an invaluable input to global weather forecasting. The success of government programs such as COSMIC is now complemented by commercial low-cost cubesats. The result is access to more than 10,000 soundings per day. We examine aerial platforms for commercial GNSS-RO, specifically high-altitude balloons and commercial aviation. Meteorological balloons (radiosondes) are deployed daily in over 900 locations globally. Adding GNSS-RO capability to radiosondes would expand capability and enable local area monitoring. Commercial aviation offers scale with more than 100,000 flights daily. A barrier to entry for the inclusion of GNSS-RO sensors is cost and complexity, as GNSS-RO traditionally requires highly specialized equipment. This paper describes a low-cost and scalable approach to aerial GNSS-RO based on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) GNSS receivers. We present hardware prototypes and data processing techniques that demonstrate technical feasibility through the results from several flight testing campaigns.
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Published in: NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 69, Number 4
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