Ionosphere tomography with data from satellite reception of Global Navigation Satellite System signals and ground reception of Navy Navigation Satellite System signals


  • R. Leitinger,

  • H.-P. Ladreiter,

  • G. Kirchengast


GPS/MET, a multichannel Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver onboard the small research satellite MicroLab 1, is the first example of a research tool of great importance for ionospheric research. In the near future, other satellites with GPS/GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System (also GNSS)) receivers will be launched. Their main purpose is lower atmosphere research, but because of the necessity to correct for plasma influences, “ionospheric” data will be available as a side product. The occultation of GNSS signals offers the possibility to gain very good quality height profiles of electron density by means of classical inversion techniques. The profiles are averaged horizontally. This paper concentrates on the possibility to complement inversion results with electron content data gained on the ground using beacon signals of low orbiting satellites (e.g., the U.S. Navy Navigation Satellite System (NNSS)). The data combination offers several possibilities for ionospheric tomography. Several GNSS scanning satellite scenarios are assessed, and their ionospheric imaging/tomography merits are discussed. An example result for the inversion of GPS/MET data is shown. The results of simulations with model ionosphere data are used to demonstrate tomographic reconstruction techniques based on the combination of “space” and “ground” electron content. The simulation results have direct applicability to observed data.