Transforming the way the world works

Satellite Positions

Knowing where a satellite is in space


Getting the message out

Once the DoD has measured a satellite's exact position, they relay that information back up to the satellite itself. The satellite then includes this new corrected position information in the timing signals it's broadcasting.

So a GPS signal is more than just pseudo-random code for timing purposes. It also contains a navigation message with ephemeris information as well.

With perfect timing and the satellite's exact position you'd think we'd be ready to make perfect position calculations. But there's trouble afoot. Check out the next section to see what's up.


In Review:
  • To use the satellites as references for range measurementswe need to know exactly where they are.
  • GPS satellites are so high up their orbits are very predictable.
  • Minor variations in their orbits are measured by the Department of Defense.
  • The error information is sent to the satellites, to be transmitted along with the timing signals.

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