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SSTL demonstrates new GNSS-R capabilities

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Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) recently announced that they successfully demonstrated GNSS-Reflectometry (GNSS-R) from its 18kg DoT-1 satellite. This innovation paves the way for any SSTL satellite which will accommodate a nadir pointing antenna to become a part of a GNSS-R small-sat constellation.

SpaceDaily quoted Phil Brownnett, director of SSTL, as saying that GNSS-R is a powerful new science which will contribute valuable data to assist monitor changes in their global climate, and he’s really pleased with the success of their DoT-1 demonstration. They now have a complicated instrument design and deep expertise in this new field, and he’s hopeful that SSTL’s HydroGNSS concept will reach a full mission to support the worldwide climate control challenge.

This GNSS-R technology demonstration from SSTL’s DoT-1 satellite serves as a crucial stepping stone for a proposed ESA Scout Mission Concept called HydroGNSS which comprises two 40kg satellites that collect data continually in near-polar orbits, taking hydrological measurements over the entire globe.

GNSS-R can also be used to assess biomass, a measure of forest density which acts as an important sink for removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Additionally, soil moisture and inundation measurements from GNSS Reflectometry can provide important information for brief term operational purposes, for instance, towards Numerical Weather Prediction and flood warnings following rainfall events.