Analysis of GPS Satellite Allocation for the United States Nuclear Detonation Detection System (USNDS) [open pdf - 1MB]
The United States Nuclear Detonation Detection System (USNDS) relies on sensors onboard NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites to detect atmospheric nuclear detonations. Though there are currently over 24 operational GPS satellites, USNDS ground based antennas are only capable of actively monitoring 24 satellites at a time. Personnel at the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) desire a well-defined methodology for selecting which 24 satellites should be monitored to maximize global coverage capability. This research introduces a means to numerically quantify each satellites individual contribution to the coverage provided by the constellation as a whole. A heuristic generates a set of possible combinations of satellites that yield high global coverage.