83rd Annual

Monday, 10 February 2003: 9:45 AM
Evaluation of experimental data from the GAINS balloon GPS surface reflection instrument
George G. Ganoe, NASA/LARC, Hampton, VA; and T. A. Johnson and J. R. Somero
Poster PDF (1.0 MB)
The GPS Surface Reflection Instrument was integrated as an experiment on the GAINS (Global Air-ocean IN-situ System) 48-hour balloon mission flown in June 2002. The data collected by similar instruments in the past has been used to measure sea state from which ocean surface winds can be accurately estimated. The GPS signal has also been shown to be reflected from wetland areas and even from subsurface moisture.

The current version of the instrument has been redesigned to be more compact, use less power, and withstand a greater variation in environmental conditions than previous versions. This instrument has also incorporated a new data collection mode to track 5 direct satellites (providing a continuous navigation solution) and multiplex the remaining 7 channels to track the reflected signal of the satellite tracked in channel 0. The new software mode has been shown to increase the signal to noise ratio of the collected data and enhance the science return of the instrument.

During the GAINS balloon flight over the Northwest US, the instrument measured surface reflections as they were detected over the balloon's ground track. Since ground surface elevations in this area vary widely from the WGS-84 ellipsoid altitude, the instrument software has been modified to incorporate a surface altitude correction based on USGS 30-minute Digital Elevation Models. Information presented will include facts about instrument design goals, data collection methodologies and algorithms, and will focus on results of the science data analyses for the mission.

Supplementary URL: http://centauri.larc.nasa.gov/gps/