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Author Topic:   GPS Satellite Information
jimh posted 03-19-2014 10:11 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
Two websites provide excellent information on GPS satellites. For real-time information showing the ground track of all GPS satellites, their orbital planes, and their psuedo-random noise (PRN) number, see

http://www.nstb.tc.faa.gov/RT_WaasSatelliteStatus.htm

For a table listing of all GPS satellites in orbit, including decommissioned satellites, see

http://earth-info.nga.mil/GandG/sathtml/satinfo.html

I have been using the above to watch for PRN 30 from SVN 64 to go operational. (This satellite is the newest one, just launched in February 2014).

jimh posted 03-20-2014 10:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
For a plot of the footprint of the WAAS satellites see

http://www.nstb.tc.faa.gov/DisplayGEOStatus.htm

The above shows a plot of the 5-degree elevation or look-angle to the geostationary satellites sending the wide area augmentation system signals.

jimh posted 03-23-2014 10:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The plot of the real-time location of GPS satellites is quite interesting. Here is a grab of the satellite positions a few moments ago:

Graphic showing ground track position of GPS satellites in real-time.
GPS Satellite Real-time positions

Compare the above with the report from a GPS receiver, sitting on my desk, under the roof of the house. Here is what my GlobalSAT BU-353 was seeing:

Graphic showing GPS altitude on a polar plot with bearing and elevation
GPS receiver satellite status

There are nine satellites in view, even from the lousy location indoors. The only satellite with a high elevation is PRN28. PRN 17 is rising toward me from Baja Mexico. PRN 26 is way out in the Pacific, but it can be received here in Michigan.

PRN 9 and PRN 7 are due South, close to or below the equator, and PRN 4 is even farther to the South.

Note that PRN 30 is marked "Do Not Use" and my receiver is ignoring it. It is between PRN 9 and PRN 7, so it must be in view.

I am still able to see PRN 1, about halfway across the Atlantic to Europe, and, quite amazingly, also see PRN 11 approaching Ireland and PRN 32 over the Sahara.

To appreciate the view from a satellite in orbit at 20,200-kilometers, use Google Earth. Increase the height in Google Earth until you get to 20,200-kilometers. You can essentially see half of the Earth. That is quite impressive. I did not realize the GPS satellites were so darn high!

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