Ionospheric Characterization using the RIO GPS Space Weather Monitor from Remote, Autonomous Platforms

G. Crowley, I. Azeem, A. Reynolds, E. Stromberg, A. Gisler, G.Thompson
ASTRA, LLC, Colorado, United States

Keywords: GPS, ionosphere, TEC, scintillation, autonomous systems

Currently a large gap in Ionospheric data exists over the oceans. ASTRA has developed a low SWaP GPS Space Weather Monitor capable of being used in remotely deployed autonomous systems. This low power (2.5 watt) software defined radio receiver measures total electron content (TEC) and ionospheric scintillation data products. GAMMA and RIO GPS receivers are the cornerstone of ASTRA’s regional ionospheric scintillation monitoring network in Alaska. These dual-frequency receivers form a longitudinal chain extending from Kaktovik to Homer in Alaska, providing real-time data to subscribers. The data are valuable because of the challenges of using GPS systems for positioning and navigation in an auroral region. The flexibility of the RIO receiver also allows it to be adapted for other applications, including to use of the GNSS-R technique to retrieve ocean tides which ASTRA has been measuring in Alaska for the last 18 months. We demonstrate recent advances in remote data collection on the NOAA TAO buoy array, as well as other deployment schemes (e.g., ships, airborne, and smallsats). ASTRA’s Standalone System Support Module (SSSM) provides robust, power, thermal management and data communications capability for GAMMA and RIO GPS receivers (or other instrumentation) deployed in extreme, harsh, power deprived environments.