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[i]It was clear from the beginning that GPS was the only practical technology that would provide the necessary data record in the environment of the jumps. But there were a number of challenges.[/i]
[i]...was the fact that the stratospheric environment — and Felix's goal of supersonic speed — were beyond any previous use of GPS for FAI certification. Further, because of U.S. Department of Defense restrictions for security purposes, most GPS devices don't support measurement of altitudes above 60,000 feet.
Once the team selected a GPS system, scrupulous testing was carried out to verify its accuracy. Evaluations included twice dropping an unmanned test pod to simulate manned flight from stratospheric altitudes and comparing the results to those of a Doppler radar.
Utley uses this verified system to retrieve Felix's jump data and, employing software programs that he has created, produces the analysis and reports that are submitted to the NAC and, ultimately, the FAI for "homologation" (certification).[/i]
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