Monday, July 18, 2016

Global AIS on Space Station (GLASS)

Global AIS on Space Station (GLASS) is a project designed to locate ships at sea using the International Space Station.  The problem is once your ship gets 75KM from shore it becomes invisible in terms of location.  The ISS effectively "views" the entire surface of the earth as it orbits, including the oceans.  Here is a short video describing AIS

The project has been progressing for several years and is now ready to move to a new phase.  The ships transmit location data around 160mhz which is received and processed into a database which is then up-linked from the ISS to a satellite which then downloads the data to a ground station.  The hardware chosen to "receive" the 160mhz signals from the ships is the Flex 6700R, the receive only version of the Flex 6700.  It was chosen because of it's 8 receiver capability, it's custom program-ability via the API, and data transmission via the radio's internal DAX circuit.  Last night 2 stock 6700R's blasted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9.  Here is a video of the successful launch taken from my back yard.  5 minutes after launch the booster returned to earth and made a successful landing at Cape Canaveral AFS.

If you listen closely at about 1:30 you can hear the roar of the rocket reach my QTH.  The sonic boom on reentry reports like a howitzer.  

Interesting times when an off the shelf consumer grade ham radio becomes part of  critical world wide Naval positioning.  I'm sitting here listening to my 6700 as I type this.  

73  W9OY