Institut de Ciències de l'Espai
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Campaigns - PIT-POC 2

Funded by ESA, PIT-POC (Paris Interferometric Technique - Proof of Concept) comprised two flights on the Aalto University's research aircraft SKYVAN Short SC-7, along the coast of Finland (Baltic Sea) to perform altimetric measurements. The added value of this campaign was to test, for the first time, the interferometric technique of cross-correlation between direct and reflected GNSS signals, and compare it with the standard approach where reflected signals are cross-correlated against their clean-code replicas (typically GPS-C/A). The main advantage of the new approach consists on the employment of high-bandwidth and encrypted codes, such as P(Y) and M-code in GPS, to improve delay-resolution. Two dedicated GNSS-R receivers from ICE/IEEC-CSIC were employed during PIT-POC: GOLD-RTR (standard approach) and PIRA (interferometric technique).

The first flight took place in June 21st, 2011. With the main purpose of collecting the first GNSS-R interferometric signals in a dynamic scenario, the aircraft kept low altitudes (around 150 meters) during most of the flight. After the successful results obtained, a second flight was made in November 11th, 2011. At this time, high-gain antennas were installed in order to achieve the better separability between different GNSS satellites, and increase the quality of both direct and reflected signals. By flying at an altitude of around 3000 meters, the estimated sea-surface level resolution allowed the clear measuring of the slope of the geoid in the Baltic Sea (2 cm/km). The altimetric results obtained with the interferometric technique shown an improvement factor of 2 compared with the standard approach [Cardellach et al., 2013]. The precise position of the antennas along the flight were computed by Institut de Geomàtica (Spain).


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