During the launch and early operations phase a path through the TCR subsystem is provided to collect phase angle range data for orbit determination. This path can also be used during the mission life if desired.

TCR ranging is accomplished by transmitting the ranging signal on a RF carrier that is tuned to the command frequency and measuring the phase angle difference of the receive signal on a RF carrier tuned to the telemetry frequency. For this reason it is normally recommended that no commands are transmitted while ranging is being preformed. By design the command receiver is a dual function unit, it will lock onto a receive carrier and demodulate the signal to produce a digital or analog output signal. Once the command receiver is locked onto the ranging carrier, it demodulated the range signal and outputs it to the input of the telemetry transmitter. The telemetry transmitter (another dual function unit) then modulates the ranging signal onto a transmit carrier and amplifies it to the transmit level and is then sent to the transmit antenna. Ranging carriers are received on the ground at the assigned telemetry frequency.

To accurately process the range data all variables must be accounted for. During the integration and test phase of the satellites assembly each range path through the TCR subsystem is calibrated. To calibrate each path the subsystem is configured for ranging, the path configuration is noted and ranging is preformed. The resulting range measurement is the delay through that path and is referred to as the satellite delay.

When processing range measurements, to improve accuracy you must account for delays through the satellite and ground station. Once these delays have been accounted for then the range measurement is the distance to and from the satellite. By dividing the measurement by 2 you get the range from the ground antenna to the satellite.

Ranging can also be preformed by transmitting and receiving the range signals through a given payload channel.