SAC helping the ESA/ESOC GPS Reprocessing

The IGS Reprocessing is a fantastic activity which I have highlighted before in this blog.

The IGS reprocessing involves recalculating all the GPS products (Station coordinate files, Satellite orbits, Station and Satellite clocks and Earth Rotation Parameters). Most of the IGS Analysis Centers are participating in this effort to take all the IGS GPS data from 1994 to 2008 and recalculating everything with the current state-of-the-art programs and techniques. This will produce more precise and continuous GPS products for the lifetime of the IGS. All the details can be found at the IGS Analysis Center Coordinator Website on Reprocessing.

At ESA/ESOC/OPS-GN (Navigation Support Office) we are one of the original IGS Analysis Centers so we wanted to participate in the Reprocessing. Unfortunately we had no spare processing capacity, and it was not clear what new machines should be bought to take on this challenge.

To help resolve this situation our company, SAC s.l., provided access to the ESA/ESOC Navigation support engineers an Intel Quad Core PC with Ubuntu 64bit, named SAC01. On this new machine we could start doing compilation tests, short runs, speed tests, data handling tests, etc. The machine was bought and configured by SAC s.l. in February 2008 and located in Las Palmas, Spain, at the professional housing services of a local Internet Service Provider (ISP). The machine was accessible via ssh and via FreeNX which allows for graphical display export easily to any other internet-able computer. The machine, SAC01, has installed the ESA/ESOC software Napeos POD software:

SAC01 Ubuntu QuadCore PC for POD ESA/ESOC Napeos POD SW on SAC01

SAC01: Ubuntu QuadCore PC for POD

By the end of 2008 we will have reprocessed and delivered to the IGS all the days from year 2000 to 2007, using 150 stations per day. This has involved downloading and checking about 200Gb of GNSS data from the CDDIS. The processing was executed in parallel, leaving one core free for Operating System processes, so that 3 days are run at once. This raises the temperature of the PC considerably but there is enough cooling power at the ISP to handle it!!

The reprocessing has involved 150 stations per day (green crosses), it has generally taken 50 minutes per day (red crosses) using 30/31 satellites (blue stars), summaries of four of the years are shown below:

2000-2003 reprocessing statistics

2000-2003 reprocessing statistics

Also noted are the total number of GNSS stations downloaded from the IGS (blue squares), and the stations rejected from the processing (pink squares).

At the start of 2009 the ESOC reprocessing results from SAC for 2000 to 2007 will have been checked, submitted and validated at the IGS making them the official ESA/ESOC contribution for those 8 years. The excellent results obtained finally convinced ESA/ESOC to buy two similar machines which will be used to produce the 1994-1999 reprocessing internally.

We are very happy at SAC s.l. to have supported ESA/ESOC in this innovative and successful way,

Ignacio Romero

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