FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC GPS radio occultation mission: Preliminary results

Yuei An Liou, Alexander G. Pavelyev, Shuo Fang Liu, Alexey A. Pavelyev, Nick Yen, C. Y. Huang, Chen Joe Fong

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127 Scopus citations


The Formosa Satellite-3 and Constellation Observing System for the Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC) radio occultation (RO) mission has been successfully launched on April 14, 2006. The FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC mission uses global positioning system (GPS) signals to study the atmosphere and the ionosphere with global coverage. Receivers that are installed onboard of the six small FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC satellites register the phase and the amplitude of radio waves at two GPS frequencies. We give a preliminary analysis of the first RO measurements that are provided by the FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC mission. The geographical distribution of the first FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC RO experiments is shown. We demonstrate that the performance of the first measurements allows obtaining the vertical profiles of the refractivity, temperature, and pressure for the considered FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC RO events with expected accuracy, which is quite similar to the accuracy of the previous Challenging Mini-Satellite Payload and Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment RO missions. New elements in the RO technology are suggested for further improving the accuracy and broadening the application range of the RO method. We emphasize new directions in applying the RO method to measure the vertical gradients of the refractivity in the atmosphere, to determine the temperature regime in the upper stratosphere, and to investigate the internal wave activity in the atmosphere. We find a significant correlation between the phase acceleration and the intensity variations in the RO signals that are emitted by GPS satellites and registered by the FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC satellites. This correlation opens a way to locate the layered structures in the propagation medium based on simultaneous observations of the radio wave intensity and the phase variations in trans-ionospheric satellite-to-satellite links.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3813-3826
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Atmospheric refractivity
  • Global positioning system (GPS) remote sensing
  • Layered structures


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