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The problems associated with determining the position of unmanned drifting buoys and constant pressure balloons from a medium. altitude satellite in a near-polar orbit are discussed. A system employing range-only measurements is described, and the errors in the computed position of the sensor platforn as a result of errors in range measurement, uncertainties in knowledge of the satellite ephemeris and the altitude and velocity of the balloon are analyzed. The oceanographic and meteorological operational requirements of this system are briefly discussed and the design implications of these requirements described.