BackForwardInstrument:  RFB 

Instrument details
Acronym RFB
Full name Radio Frequency Beacon
Purpose To measure line-of-sight Total Electron Content (TEC)
Short description The instrument transmits phase data measurements at 150, 400 and 1067 MHz (VHF, UHF, L-band) which can be received at ground stations worldwide
Background Similar to CERTO/TBB of COSMIC except that it is provided by USAF instead of NRL
Scanning Technique Non-scanning, nadir pointing, horizon-to-horizon (130° aperture)
Resolution N/A
Coverage / Cycle Global coverage daily
Mass 5 kg Power 14 W Data Rate


Providing Agency USAF
Instrument Maturity Flown on an R&D satellite
Utilization Period: 2020 to 2026
Last update: 2021-10-02
Detailed characteristics
Satellites this instrument is flying on

Note: a red tag indicates satellites no longer operational, a green tag indicates operational satellites, a blue tag indicates future satellites

Instrument classification
  • Solar and space environment monitors
  • Field or radiowave sensor
WIGOS Subcomponents
  • Subcomponent 2
  • Magnetospheric energetic particles and magnetometers
  • Ionospheric total electron content sensor [at LEO and cross magnetosphere]
  • Radio wave receiver [in LEO and cross magnetosphere]
Mission objectives
Primary mission objectives
  • Ionospheric Total Electron Content (TEC)
Evaluation of Measurements

The following list indicates which measurements can typically be retrieved from this category of instrument. To see a full Gap Analysis by Variable, click on the respective variable.

Note: table can be sorted by clicking on the column headers
Note: * Primary mission objective.
VariableRelevance for measuring this variableOperational limitationsExplanation
Ionospheric Radio Absorption1 - primaryNo specific limitation.Earth's limb. Active radio waves
Ionospheric Total Electron Content (TEC)*1 - primaryNo specific limitation.Earth's limb. Active radio waves
Ionospheric Scintillation1 - primaryNo specific limitation.Earth's limb. Scintillations. Active radio waves