Ball Aerospace GFO Satellite Begins Eleventh Year On Orbit
April 09, 2008
The Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. operational altimeter satellite, GEOSAT Follow-On (GFO), has achieved 10 years of successful on orbit operation, providing continuous worldwide oceanographic data for ships at sea and the Navy's shore-based facilities.
GFO, launched in February 1998, was the first real-time, radar altimeter satellite built for the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. The follow-on to the highly successful GEOSAT-A, the GFO satellite completed 154 exact repeat cycles in February 2008.
"The GFO satellite continues to operate beyond its design life, providing ocean observation critical to both naval planners and oceanographers," said Jeff Osterkamp, vice president and general manager for Ball Aerospace's National Defense Solutions business unit. Currently the Radar Altimeter is being power cycled on/off during eclipse periods to maintain the satellite electrical power system.
Ball Aerospace built the spacecraft bus, procured the payload and launch services and supplied the system software and hardware for the mission's ground support stations. Ball also provided the integrated antenna for the payload's altimeter and radiometer as well as the global positioning system and communications antennas. Although primarily a Navy tactical satellite, GFO is important for weather research and its mission data has lead to vast improvements in our knowledge of ocean circulation by measuring subtle differences in sea surface height associated with ocean currents and eddies. The GFO altimeter also provides information about wave height, and sea and glacier ice.
The GFO satellite is controlled by the Naval Satellite Operations Center. In addition to transmitting data directly to Navy ships, GFO stores global data and passes it via remote receiving stations to the Naval Oceanographic Office. NOAA is responsible for distribution to NASA and the civil and scientific communities.
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions of important national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications. For more than 50 years, Ball Aerospace has been responsible for numerous technological and scientific 'firsts' and acts as a technology innovator for the aerospace market.
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