GFO was a follow-on to the successful GEOSAT program which flew between 1985 and 1990. GFO was to provide real-time ocean topography data to 65 Navy users at sea and on shore. This data on wave heights, currents and fronts would also be archived and made available to scientific and commercial users through NOAA. The GFO contract was awarded in September 1992 and was worth $46M for the first satellite and $115M if options for two additional spacecraft were exercised. These costs included launch, ground software and 60 days operation. Contract included incentive fees based on long-term on-orbit performance. Spacecraft: 3-axis stabilised. Single solar array with 1-axis articulation. Hydrazine propulsion system for orbit maintenance. Redundant GPS receivers provide precision orbit determination with an rms accuracy (radial component) of 10 cm. A doppler beacon transmitter is also carried to support orbit determination. Payload: A radar altimeter was the primary payload. This 13.5 GHz radar provided 3.5 cm height measurement precision. The other payload was a dual frequency (22 and 37 GHz) water vapour passive radiometer with a path correction accuracy of 1.9 cm rms. Total payload was 47 kg and 121 watts.
Design Life: 8 years. Total Length: 3.0 m. Total Payload: 47 kg. Electrical System: Single solar array.
GFO was a follow-on to the GEOSAT program. GFO was to provide real-time ocean topography data. The GFO contract was awarded in September 1992 and is worth $46M for the first satellite and $115M if options for two additional spacecraft are exercised.