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NASA develops GPS navigation system for MMS satellite

  • MMS is on a mission to investigate physics of magnetic reconnection
  • Magnetic reconnection can now be understood due to extraordinary GPS tracking

NASA has developed a GPS navigation system for the newly-launched Magnetospheric Multiscale satellite, aka MMS. The GPS system will be flying through the vacuum space at 22,000 mph rapidly spinning 43,000 miles above the surface of Earth. The four MMS spacecraft left Earth on a mission to investigate the physics of magnetic reconnection. The spacecraft have to fly in a tight pyramid formation through Earth’s magnetic field to understand how magnetic reconnection works. And the GPS navigation system has exceeded NASA‘s expectations. At the farthest point of the MMS orbit of 43,500 miles, Navigator was able to receive signals from the GPS satellites and perform onboard navigation solutions. The work of understanding magnetic reconnection has begun due to this extraordinary GPS tracking.