The era of tracking artifical Earth satellites using Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) began in the early 1980s when a GPS receiver was flown on-board the Landsat-4 mission. Since that time a large number of Low Earth Orbiters (LEO) were using constantly improved GPS receivers for timing, positioning, radio science and other applications. Apart from Earth observation missions, a number of small satellites carrying GPS-related payloads were launched in recent years. As the miniaturization of satellite components advances and their costs get lower and lower, small satellite missions – today primarily used for technology demonstration and education – will become ever more interesting for a large variety of applications.
With the nano-satellite mission CubETH, our group is very active in this innovative field of research.