Space and Geophysics Laboratory

SGL Staff with antennas


The Space and Geophysics Laboratory engages in research in electromagnetic propagation, geo-positioning, and remote sensing. This laboratory develops Global Positioning Systems (GPS) interface control processes that define the signal structure broadcast by GPS satellites, the specification of government geodetic-quality GPS receivers, and the design and execution of government tests for industry-produced receivers. In addition, SGL serves as life cycle engineer for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's Monitor Station Network and maintains the stations within that network. Work in this lab is funded by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, and other federal agencies from the national intelligence community.

Research Areas

SGL is the life cycle engineer for the Monitor Station Network (MSN) that collects, processes, checks and forwards GPS tracking data for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The GPS network is unique in that it collects data from both the civil and military signals. SGL is responsible for maintaining the eleven operational stations and two test and development NGA stations.
Another strength of SGL is remote sensing and specification of the ionosphere. The ionosphere is the partially ionized region of our atmosphere that is usually considered to be from 60-1000 km in altitude. This region of the atmosphere strongly impacts radio transmissions both from the ground and space. SGL has worked with the DoD and the National Science Foundation to develop better data assimilative techniques to characterize not only the ionosphere, but the magnetosphere and plasmasphere as well. Worldwide, SGL has designed, built and deployed over 15 specialized ionospheric receivers that use signals from on-orbit satellites to derive measures of the Total Electron Content (TEC) of the ionosphere.
Expertise in electromagnetic wave propagation and the ionosphere enables SGL to take the lead role in constructing a radio telescope known as the Long Wavelength Array (LWA). LWA will operate in the 30-90 MHz region. This relatively low frequency radio telescope promises to revolutionize radio science and will provide a valuable new observing tool for astronomers.
SGL's electromagnetic wave propagation expertise is demonstrated in several practical tools. An example is the Radio Frequency Mission Planner (RFMP). RFMP is a visualization tool that allows the operator to "see" the impact of the environment and terrain on RF signals. RFMP is used by the DoD to plan and analyze missions by collecting and jamming against adversary radio assets.
Radio Frequency Spectrum Awareness
Geospatial Analysis

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