Feeds

Boffins ponder Galileo signals as ocean monitors

It will be useful

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Private enterprise might not know how to make any money from it, but academics are already thinking of uses for it. Yes, it is the Galileo system, Europe's answer to GPS.

Scientists at the University of Surrey, along with spin-out firm SSTL, have managed to detect the reflection of signals sent down from an orbiting prototype Galileo satellite.

The reflected signal was captured by the University's GPS Reflectometry Experiment. This hitched a lift into space back in 2003, aboard SSTL’s UK-DMC satellite. The aim was to demonstrate the use of GPS reflections to determine the roughness of the ocean, using a method called 'bistatic radar' or 'forward scatterometry'.

The same equipment has now detected a reflection from the prototype Galileo signal. It wasn't a huge amount of data: just 20 seconds' worth collected earlier this month. But the value is in the proof of concept, the scientists say.

"This is an important achievement in remote sensing and demonstrates the potential offered by Galileo for scientific purposes," said Dr Martin Unwin, Head of Global Navigation Satellite Systems at SSTL.

"Signals from Galileo... GPS and the Russian and Chinese systems, Glonass and Compass, can all be used as part of a new tool for ocean sensing. The future high bandwidth signals transmitted by Galileo, in particular, will enable higher resolution measurements of special interest to scientists, for example, in resolving wave heights."

He sad a constellation of small satellites - roughly 10kg each - could easily be launched to listen out for the echoes of publicly funded navigation signals. The size and simplicity of such a listening post means many satellites could be launched at a time, he added.

Data collected by such a system could help fill in gaps in forecast knowledge, giving better warning of storms far out at sea, as well as providing data for climate models. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Vote now for LOHAN's stirring mission patch motto
Does the shed actually know no bounds, or what?
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.