Shuttle mission STS-69 was launched on September 7, 1995, 10:09 CDT, carrying the Wake Shield Facility (WSF-02). The WSF-02 spacecraft included a set of payloads provided by the Texas Space Grant Consortium, known as TexasSat. One of the TexasSat payloads was a GPS TurboRogue receiver loaned by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. On September 11, the WSF-02 was unberthed from the Endeavour payload bay using the remote manipulator system. The GPS receiver was powered on prior to release and the WSF-02 remained in free-flight for three days before being retrieved on September 14. All WSF-02 GPS data, which includes dual frequency pseudorange and carrier phase, were stored in an on-board recorder for post-flight analysis, but "snap- shots" of data were transmitted for 2-3 minutes at intervals of several hours, when permitted by the telemetry band- widdl The GPS experiment goals were: (1) an evaluation of precision orbit determination in a low altitude environment (400 km) where perturbations due to atmospheric drag and the Earth's gravity field are more pronounced than for higher altitude satellites with high precision orbit requirements, such as TOPEX/POSEIDON; (2) an assessment of relative positioning using the WSF GPS receiver and the Endeavour Collins receiver; and (3) determination of atmospheric temperature profiles using GPS signals passing through the atmosphere. Analysis of snap-shot telemetry data indicate that 24 hours of continuous data were stored on board, which includes high rate (50 Hz) data for atmosphere temperature profiles. Examination of the limited number of real-time navigation solutions show that at least 7 GPS satellites were tracked simultaneously and the on-board clock corrections were at the microsec level, as expected. Furthermore, a dynamical consistency test provided a further validation of the on-board navigation solutions. Complete analysis will be conducted in post-flight using the data recorded on-board.
Aircraft Communications and Navigation