ESA title
ESA Navigation Facility
Enabling & Support

GPS Tracking & Data Analysis Facility

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Operations

In order to support future ESA projects involving GPS (global positioning satellite) navigation, ESA's Operations directorate has established a GPS Tracking and Data Analysis Facility (GPS-TDAF) co-located in the Navigation Office at ESA/ESOC.

The GPS-TDAF system integrates data analysis, operations support and communication software tools and works with GPS receivers on board satellites in combination with receivers installed worldwide (including at six ESTRACK station sites) to provide highly accurate orbit determination services.

Diagram of GPS-TDAF system
Diagram of GPS-TDAF system

ESA's GPS-TDAF also provides other geodesy related services having very stringent accuracy requirements within the framework of the International GNSS Service (IGS).

The IGS (International Global Navigation Satellite Systems Service) is a voluntary federation of more than 200 agencies worldwide that pool resources and permanent GPS & GLONASS station data to generate precise GPS and GLONASS products.

The goals of ESA's GPS-TDAF system include:

  • Build and operate of a network of high-precision geodetic GPS receivers at ESTRACK station sites, including communications to ESOC
  • Development of related software
  • Development of services related to processing GPS data, solving for the orbits of the GPS satellites, station positions and motions, and Earth orientation parameters
  • Monitoring of variations between GPS satellite clocks and ground receiver clocks
  • Active participation in the IGS
  • Ionospheric mapping in near-real time for ESA tracking stations, providing support to all ESA satellites being tracked from these sites
  • Orbit determination for Earth satellites equipped with on-board GPS receivers
GPS-TDAF receivers at Kourou station
GPS-TDAF receivers at Kourou station


Access links at right for more technical information. For more information on all activities at ESA's Navigation Office, contact:

Prof. John Dow, Head of Navigation Office
ESA/ESOC, Darmstadt
Tel: +49-6151-90-0
email: john.dow [at]

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