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Phase 3D GPS Experiment

The AMSAT Phase 3D spacecraft got some publicity in the October 1999 edition
of GPS World magazine.  The "Innovation" column has an article titled "The
View from Above, GPS on High-Altitude Spacecraft" by Thomas D. Powell of The
Aerospace Corporation.  This article appears ob pages 54-64.

As the title implies, the article discusses the GPS navigation challenges
for high altitude spacecraft.  Since these spacecraft are at higher
altitudes than the GPS orbits, the high altitude spacecraft receive the GPS
signals from the opposite side of the Earth (to have a clear LOS to the GPS
satellite antennas).

Both AMSAT Phase 3D and the USAFA Falcon Gold spacecraft were mentioned in
the article.  The Phase 3D excerpt is:

"...a number of programs at NASA, the U.S. Air Force, and other agencies are
planning experimental missions to develop GPS technology for [highly
eccentric orbit] HEO users.  As discussed later, some early experiments'
results are in, and more are expected in the near future.  The Equator-S
mission, launched in December 1997, examined GPS signals at altitudes as
high as 61,000 kilometers.  And the AMSAT Phase 3D spacecraft, currently
scheduled for launch in late 1999, will carry a pair of GPS receivers to a
47,000 kilometer altitude."

For those who don't know, these two [very expensive] GPS receivers were
donated for Phase 3D by NASA since they're interested in the results of the
high altitude GPS experiment.

BTW, I am unaware of a scheduled launch date for Phase 3D, so take the late
1999 date with a little grain of salt.

73, Ken N2WWD

Ken Ernandes

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