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Issue 9: Space Applications

Geosynchronous Satellite Use of GPS

Jennifer L. Ruiz and Charles H. Frey

Download the full paper in PDF (500 KB)


The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of GPS use for a geosynchronous (GEO) satellite. Current missions at GEO altitude mainly use traditional ranging for orbit determination. With changing mission requirements and the increase in the number of GEO missions, utilizing GPS signals is becoming an increasingly attractive alternative for position and timing determination. A previous ION paper discusses the use of GPS data for a particular geosynchronous satellite mission and is included here as a reference. GPS use at GEO is primarily limited by the availability of the spillover from the GPS earth coverage signal. The availability of the GPS signal at GEO is determined by the GPS block specific antenna patterns and the GEO satellite's receiver antenna. This analysis specifically examined the effects of the GPS constellation availability, antenna gain patterns, and GPS receiver clock stability on position and timing accuracies at GEO.


  • Reprinted with permission from The Institute of Navigation ( and The Proceedings of the 18th International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation, (pp. 1227-1232). Fairfax, VA: The Institute of Navigation.


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