GNSS Radio Occultation on Aerial Platforms with Commercial 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 Michael Vergalla

Abstract: In recent decades, GNSS Radio Occultation soundings have proven an invaluable input to global weather forecasting. The success of government-sponsored programs such as COSMIC is now complemented by commercial low-cost cubesat implementations. The result is access to more than 10,000 soundings per day and improved weather forecasting accuracy. This movement towards commercialization has been supported by several agencies, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) with programs such as the Commercial Weather Data Pilot (CWDP). This has resulted in further interest in commercially deploying GNSS-RO on complementary platforms. Here, we examine a so far underutilized platform: the high-altitude weather balloon. Such meteorological radiosondes are deployed twice daily at over 900 locations globally and form an essential in-situ data source as a long-standing input to weather forecasting models. Adding GNSS-RO capability to existing radiosonde platforms would greatly expand capability, allowing for persistent and local area monitoring, a feature particularly useful for hurricane and other severe weather monitoring. A prohibitive barrier to entry to this inclusion is cost and complexity as GNSS-RO traditionally requires highly specialized and sensitive equipment. This paper describes a multi-year effort to develop a low-cost and scalable approach to balloon GNSS-RO based on Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) GNSS receivers. We present hardware prototypes and data processing techniques which demonstrate the technical feasibility of the approach through results from several flight testing campaigns.
Published in: Proceedings of the 34th International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2021)
September 20 - 24, 2021
Union Station Hotel
St. Louis, Missouri
Pages: 3963 - 3978
Cite this article: Chan, Bryan C., Goel, Ashish, Kosh, Jonathan, Reid, Tyler G. R., Snyder, Corey R., Tarantino, Paul M., Soedarmadji, Saraswati, Soedarmadji, Widyadewi, Nelson, Kevin, Vergalla, Feiqin Xie Michael, "GNSS Radio Occultation on Aerial Platforms with Commercial Off-The-Shelf Receivers," Proceedings of the 34th International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2021), St. Louis, Missouri, September 2021, pp. 3963-3978.
https://doi.org/10.33012/2021.18077
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