CSR Research

The Center for Space Research is a world-renowned institution melding engineering, space and Earth sciences. For more than four decades, CSR has been at the forefront of geodesy and celestial mechanics, and has provided extraordinary expertise and leadership in orbit determination, remote sensing, and computational methods.

Gravity Field

Determination of the Earth’s gravity field from motion of satellites is as old as the space age, using principles dating back to Newton. CSR has spearheaded the evolution of this science over the last fourdecades and continues today with climate applications-driven parts-per-billion spaceborne measurements of gravity using the first laser interferometer on board the GRACE-FO mission. CSR is unique among academia in the US for being active in thedetermination of the Earth gravity field using every available spacebornetechnique –high-low and low-low satellite tracking, satellite laser ranging, and electrostatic and quantum gravity gradiometry.

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McDonald Geodetic Observatory

MGO - image credit E. TerrazasThe McDonald Geodetic Observatory (MGO) is a joint venture among the NASA Space Geodesy Project (SGP), the University of Texas at Austin Center for Space Research, and the McDonald Observatory. MGO’s mission is to contribute to the global geodetic infrastructure by co-locating multiple state-of-the-art geodetic instruments tied together by mm-level metrology. The data produced by MGO and its associated network of similar sites around the world are used to support the definition of the International Terrestrial Reference Frame(ITRF), measurement of the Earth Orientation Parameters, and satellite precision orbit determination.

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Global Flux eXploratory (GFX)

The Global Flux eXploratory (GFX) is an initiative to study climate that involvesmodeling the transfer of mass, energy, and momentum in the Earth’s atmosphere, ocean, and hydrologic systems.GFX is a flexible data and numerical modeling system that supports investigation and application development in global flux studies. It is particularly well suited for developing complex applications that will function in an operational environment, and also provides a structure with extensive data sets for simpler studies. GFX produces the quick-look Atmosphere-Ocean De-aliasing (AOD) product for the GRACE-FO project for near real-time orbit and gravity field estimation.

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LIDAR/Geospatial Sciences

The 3D geospatial research focus is on remote sensing technologies with a primary interest in laser altimetry. The research approach utilizes a perspective on instrument engineering, mission implementation and science application. We use surface elevation observations to form new data products for improved 3D interpretation, create new data analytics and optimize algorithms. We use these data as the underpinning of Earth exploration and continue to design missions that satisfy the need to monitor our changing climate. The majority of the research is associated with NASA’s Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2). The UT ICESat-2 team provides a broad range of ICESat-2 engineering and scientific application discovery.

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Radar Science

The radar interferometry group at UT uses Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) techniques to study the earth surface and subsurface processes such as earthquakes, volcanoes, groundwater aquifers, hurricanes, and permafrost.We measure and interpret millimeter-sized changes on Earth using images from orbiting radar satellites at altitudes as high as 800 km or more. Our strength is the development of new algorithms using advanced signal processing and high-performance computing to process, analyze, and interpret large volumes of InSAR data in the presence by noise.

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Remote Sensing & Disaster Analytics

The Mid-American Geospatial Information Center (MAGIC) conducts research in remote sensing applied to disaster response and recovery. As a catalyst for developing advanced technology, MAGIC combines products from global remote sensing programs with innovations in information technology, computer visualization and high-speed data transmission. Users include state agencies, federal agencies, regional and local governments, academic institutions, public schools, businesses and the public at large.

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Global Geophysical Fluids – Hydrology (GGFC)

Observations of the mass redistribution and movement in the geophysical fluids system (i.e., atmosphere, ocean and hydrosphere) are obtained from diverse geodetic and remote sensing observation systems. The Special Bureau for Hydrology of the Global Geophysical Fluids Center (GGFC) presents our research synthesizing these observations of mass movement, deformation, and Earth orientation, enabling unified investigation and interpretation of the climate system.

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CSR continually strives to expand and deepen its contributions towards addressing complex scientific challenges, such as quantifying sea level rise and ice cap melt, monitoring global water storage processes, developing innovative GPS/location-based applications, fabricating small satellites, and pushing each new supercomputer to its limits.