Below this introduction is the home page for the historic website of the GPS Signal Science Division of the Collaborative Research Centre for Satellite Systems, the CRCSS. This Centre was directed by Dr Elizabeth Essex-Cohen of La Trobe University, with much GPS and ionospheric research being undertaken at La Trobe University, but other GPS related, especially more applied application research being undertaken at other Australian centres. The website includes a brief accounts of plans for CRCSS research conducted at other Australian centres. However the value of this site was greatly enhanced by providing an account of the history of satellites, and of Australia's involvement in this history.

Satellite Systems
The Collaborative Research Centre for Satellite Systems, was inaugurated on January 1, 1998, with an initial Australian Government funding of $23 million for eight years of operation (to January 1, 2005). The CRC had the significant objective of designing, and launching, Australia's second scientific satellite. [ The first was WRESAT launched from the Weapons Research Centre at Woomera, South Australia, in 1967. ] It was initially proposed to launch the satellite, to be called FedSat, during the centenary year of Australia's Federation. However the target year was bypassed, and the launch did not take place until December 14, 2002.
Conceptually the CRCSS was a joint venture of six universities, the CSIRO, and four Australian Companies. On its establishment, there were 23 listed CRCSS researchers, including Dr Elizabeth Essex-Cohen. Within the CRC designated leaders were appointed to specific research and development areas, with the CSIRO specifically tasked with overall management.Although La Trobe University never achieved partner status with the CRCSS, space science pioneer Dr Elizabeth Essex-Cohen, was placed in charge of GPS Signal Science. FedSat was one of the first of many microsatellites to be launched in the first decade of the 21st century. Interest was such that prior to the launch on five separate occassions over 19 months Dr Essex-Cohen was invited to participate (at JPL expense) in workshops and symposiums on microsatellite researchat the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Pasadena, California.

FedSat design model

Note the long boom on which was mounted a magnetometer.
The revamp of this historic webpage is dedicated to Dr Elizabeth Essex-Cohen (1940-2004) who in 1974 was the only Australian involved in the design of the US Air Force satellite navigation system NAVSAT, initially conceived of as a purely military system, later renamed GPS, and made generally available when Selective Availability was turned off in May 2000. After her initial contribution in the GPS design stage, she returned to the US Air Force Geophysical Research Station in 1978 as a NASA Senior Post-doctoral Fellow, engaged then in basic ionospheric studies. Returning to Australia in 1979 , she actively continued her research on the ionosphere, and was active in lobbying for the second Australian satellite, FedSat. She was in charge of GPS science program for FedSat.
Sadly she suddenly became seriously ill, and was hospitalised in the Xmas following the actual launch of FedSat. She had a partial remission in January 2004, enabling her to participate in an International Beacon Satellite Workshop held in Hobart, January 2004. But she then relapsed, and passed away in March 2004. After her death, a huge manual was found amongst her books, which was the Operators Manual for a Satellite of the 1960's; on her death she was probably the only Australian with over 35 years involvement with satellite technology.
To fully appreciate Elizabeth's pioneering work one needs an overview of GPS, while on this page an account is given of the GPS satellite constellation system, and brief explanation how and why the ionosphere interfere's with the use of GPS

A selection of Elizabeth's scientific papers is available here, whilst the account of her lifelong involvement in GPS is detailed on this web page
Site Index
The Australian CRC for Satellite Systems
The Australian Cooperative Research Centre in Satellite Systems plans to develop the technology and research capabilities of Australia to develop satellites and satellite systems. The CRCSS involves leading Australian Universities, the CSIRO, and several Australian companies. These web pages are devoted to ...
GPS Signal Science Centre
Space Physics Department, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

Experts and Researchers
General Interest
Including School Projects
Satellite Systems
Using GPS Signals to Scan the whole atmosphere from FedSat:
atmospheric tomography

Black Hole Over Tasmania

View the Earth from an orbitting satellite NOW
All About Satellites
What's Inside; Types; Applications
All About GPS
Who's Who
in The CRCSS:
Postgraduate Opportunities
Australia's next scientific Satellite FedSat 1:
Its Mission and Fact Sheet

Bouncing radar off the sea
Experiment designed to monitor sea heights yields ionospheric data.

GPS Millennium Bug

What is the


History of Satellites
Firsts in Space
AUSROC Australia's Microsatellite Launcher Program
Comments enquires to Webmaster

Australia in Space
a History
Quiz on Satellites and GPS

AUSROC Forges International Links to Develop Microsatellite Launcher
Huge Red Sprites hover near Darwin
> Oz Kids Into Space

Learn how to space walk