A document outlines a computational method that can be incorporated into two prior methods used to invert Global Positioning System (GPS) occultation data [signal data acquired by a low-Earth-orbiting satellite as either this or the GPS satellite rises above or falls below the horizon] to obtain information on altitude-dependent properties of the atmosphere. The two prior inversion methods, known as back propagation and canonical transform, are computationally expensive because for each occultation, they involve numerical evaluation of a large number of diffraction-like spatial integrals. The present method involves an angular-spectrum-based phase-extrapolation approximation in which each data point is associated with a plane-wave component that propagates in a unique direction from the orbit of the receiving satellite to intersect a straight line tangent to the orbit at a nearby point. This approximation enables the use of fast Fourier transforms (FFTs), which apply only to data collected along a straight-line trajectory. The computation of the diffraction-like integrals in the angular-spectrum domain by use of FFTs takes only seconds, whereas previously, it took minutes.

This work was done by Chi Ao of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Information Sciences category.

The software used in this innovation is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Don Hart of the California Institute of Technology at (818) 393-3425. Refer to NPO-30791.