Precise orbit determination is of central importance for many applications of geodesy and earth science. The challenge is to determine satellite orbits in an absolute sense at the centimeter or even sub-centimeter level, and at the millimeter or even sub-millimeter level in a relative sense. New constellations of GNSS satellites are currently being completed and numerous position-critical missions (e.g. altimetry, gravity, SAR and SLR missions) are currently in orbit. All together outstanding data are available offering new opportunities to push orbit determination to the limit and to explore new applications.

This session aims to make accessible the technical challenges of orbit determination and modelling to the wider community and to quantify the nature of the impact of dynamics errors on the various applications. Contributions are solicited but not limited to the following areas: (1) precise orbit determination and validation; (2) satellite surface force modelling; (3) advances in modelling atmospheric density and in atmospheric gravity; (4) advances in modelling earth radiation fluxes and their interaction with space vehicles; (5) analysis of changes in geodetic parameters/earth models resulting from improved force modelling/orbit determination methods; (6) improvements in observable modelling for all tracking systems, e.g. SLR, DORIS, GNSS and their impact on orbit determination; (7) advances in combining the different tracking systems for orbit determination; (8) the impact of improved clock modelling methods/space clocks on precise orbit determination; (9) advances in modelling satellite attitude.

Convener: Adrian Jaeggi | Co-conveners: Alexandre CouhertECSECS, Urs Hugentobler, Oliver Montenbruck, Heike Peter
| Attendance Tue, 05 May, 16:15–18:00 (CEST)

Files for download

Session materials Download all presentations (90MB)

Chat time: Tuesday, 5 May 2020, 16:15–18:00

Chairperson: Jäggi / Couhert / Hugentobler / Montenbruck / Peter
D1765 |
Jan-Peter Weiss, Doug Hunt, William Schreiner, Teresa VanHove, Daniel Arnold, and Adrian Jaeggi

We present results for GNSS orbit estimation strategies implemented for the FORMOSAT-7/COSMIC-2 (Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate) constellation. The six COSMIC-2 satellites launched on June 25, 2019 into a 24 deg inclination, ~725 km circular orbit. Over time, all satellites will be lowered to an operational altitude of ~520 km. The primary COSMIC-2 science payload is the JPL designed Tri-GNSS Radio-occultation Receiver System (TGRS), which tracks GPS and GLONASS signals on two upward looking choke-ring precise orbit determination antennas facing the forward- and anti-velocity directions. We evaluate recently implemented post-processed orbit determination strategies. These include single antenna GPS-only and GPS+GLONASS solutions, as well as experimental dual-antenna GPS-only processing applying different approaches for the handling of receiver clock parameters (e.g. dual clocks, single clock plus bias). Evaluation metrics include data volume and tracking arc coverage, postfit residuals, internal orbit overlaps, and stability of the receiver clock estimates. We furthermore compare the performance of the six orbiters, and look for differences in quality metrics at the higher and lower orbit altitudes.

How to cite: Weiss, J.-P., Hunt, D., Schreiner, W., VanHove, T., Arnold, D., and Jaeggi, A.: COSMIC-2 Precise Orbit Determination Results, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-20170, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-20170, 2020.

D1766 |
Barbara Suesser- Rechberger, Torsten Mayer-Guerr, and Sandro Krauss

The kinematic strategy for precise orbit determination (POD) of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites uses only geometric observations to estimate the satellite orbit and does not take any forces into account. This strategy requires a large amount of observation data for one epoch to determine the three-dimensional satellite position. One possibility to get these data is the usage of the spaceborne global navigation satellite system (GNSS) technology, which provides a high number of accurate observations. Following Zehentner (2016) the kinematic orbit positioning applying the raw observation approach by using a least-squares adjustment has shown promising results with a high accuracy.

By applying this approach the kinematic orbits for several LEO satellite missions are estimated and subsequently validated by a comparison with state of the art gravity field solutions. Furthermore due to the fact that solar events causes an orbit decay, these precise determined orbit data are used to analyze solar event impacts on LEO satellites.

How to cite: Suesser- Rechberger, B., Mayer-Guerr, T., and Krauss, S.: Kinematic orbit positioning applying the raw observation approach, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-3470, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-3470, 2020.

D1767 |
Kangkang Chen, Markus Rothacher, Lukas Müller, Flavio Kreiliger, and Sergio De Florio

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) have been used as a key technology for satellite orbit determination for about 30 years. With the increasing popularity of miniaturized satellites (e.g., CubeSats that are nanosatellites based on standardized 10 cm-sized units) the need for an adapted payload for orbit determination arises. We developed a small-size versatile GNSS payload board using commercial off-the-shelf single-frequency GNSS receivers with extremely small weight (1.6 g), size (12.2 x 16.0 x 2.4 mm3) and power consumption (100 mW). The board features two separate antenna connectors and four GNSS receivers – two connected to each antenna. This redundancy lowers the risk of a total payload failure in case one receiver is malfunctioning.

Two prototypes of the GNSS positioning board have been successfully launched onboard the Astrocast-01 and -02 3-unit cube satellites with altitudes of 575 and 505 km, respectively. The multi-GNSS receivers are capable of tracking the GNSS satellites of the four major systems, i.e., GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou and Galileo. In addition, both satellites are equipped with a small array of three laser retroreflectors enabling orbit validation with Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR). After the two precursor missions, a constellation of 80 satellites is planned, allowing the formation and computation of a highly uniform polyhedron in space with cm-accuracy, relevant for geocenter, reference frame, and GNSS orbit determination.

At present, we have continuous receiver PVT solutions available. The real-time onboard orbit determination results indicate that the receivers perform very well on both satellites. The RMS of a daily orbit fitting is, after removing one or the other outlier, at the level of 2-5 meters despite errors caused by the ionosphere and the orbit model. For a few satellite arcs, the recording of GNSS raw phase and code data was enabled, allowing orbit determination in a post-processing mode. This allows a better assessment of the achievable orbit quality and an overall performance estimation. The tests performed so far include the improvement of the orbit quality by eliminating the ionospheric refraction based on a linear combination of phase and code observations, the comparison of various single-system solutions and advances in combining the different tracking systems for orbit determination. In collaboration with the Zimmerwald Observatory in Switzerland a first SLR campaign was conducted that successfully tracked both nanosatellites. The SLR measurements with their high accuracy were then analyzed to validate the orbits of the Astrocast satellites derived from GNSS measurements.

We will present details on the payload board, on the results of the orbit determination in real-time and in post-processing mode based on the low-cost single-frequency multi-GNSS receivers onboard the satellites and on the SLR orbit validation.


Keywords: CubeSat; GNSS payload; LEO orbit determination; low-cost; ionospheric refraction; linear combination; SLR

How to cite: Chen, K., Rothacher, M., Müller, L., Kreiliger, F., and De Florio, S.: A GNSS Payload for CubeSat Precise Orbit Determination, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10519, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-10519, 2020.

D1768 |
David Lucchesi, Luciano Anselmo, Massimo Bassan, Marco Lucente, Carmelo Magnafico, Carmen Pardini, Roberto Peron, Giuseppe Pucacco, and Massimo Visco

Thermal thrust forces are non-conservative forces that act on the surface of a satellite as a result of temperature gradients across its surface. In the case of the older LAGEOS satellite these kinds of perturbations have been well-known since the end of 80s. The main effects are due to the thermal inertia of the corner cube retroreflectors (CCRs) of the satellites with sources the Earth’s infrared radiation and the direct solar visible radiation modulated by the eclipses. However, the solar radiation reflected by the complex Earth-atmosphere system, i.e. the albedo, is also responsible for a non-uniform heating of the satellite surface. We reconsider such perturbations by means of a new thermal model for the satellites called LATOS (LArase Thermal mOdel Solutions), which is not based on averaged equations as those previously developed in the literature. Of course, in such analyses the attitude of the satellite plays an important key role; we modeled it by means of the LASSOS (LArase Satellites Spin mOdel Solutions) model for the evolution of the spin-vector that we have already developed within the LARASE (LAser RAnged Satellites Experiment) research program. We also included the contribution of the Earth’s albedo in the determination of the overall distribution of temperature on the surface of the satellites, that was not considered in previous works. The CERES (Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System) data have been used to account for this effect. The thermal thrust accelerations have been computed together with their effects on the orbital elements by means of the Gauss equations. These effects are compared with the orbit residuals of the satellites in the same elements, obtained by an independent Precise Orbit Determination (POD), in order to highlight the signature of the unmodeled effects. The improvement in the POD that can be achieved through a better modeling of the thermal thrust perturbations is of fundamental importance for the geophysical products that are determined by means of the analysis of the orbits of the two LAGEOS satellites. Similarly, the measurements in the field of fundamental physics that are obtained with these satellites can benefit from a more precise modeling of their orbit.

How to cite: Lucchesi, D., Anselmo, L., Bassan, M., Lucente, M., Magnafico, C., Pardini, C., Peron, R., Pucacco, G., and Visco, M.: Thermal thrust accelerations on LAGEOS satellites, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-18560, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-18560, 2020.

D1769 |
Grzegorz Bury, Krzysztof Sośnica, Radosław Zajdel, and Dariusz Strugarek

The European navigation system Galileo is on its final stretch to become a fully operational capability (FOC) Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). The current constellation consists of 24 healthy satellites decomposed into three Medium Earth Orbits and since late 2016 is considered as an operational system. So far, the official Galileo orbits are provided by the European Space Agency and in the frame of the International GNSS Service (IGS) Multi-GNSS pilot project (MGEX) whose one of the goals is to develop orbit determination strategies for all new emerging navigation satellite systems.

All the Galileo satellites are equipped with Laser Retroreflector Arrays (LRA) for Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR). As a result, a number of Galileo satellites is tracked by laser stations of the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS). SLR measurements to GNSS, such as Galileo, comprise a valuable tool for the validation of the orbit products as well as for an independent orbit solution based solely on laser ranging data. However, the SLR data may be used together along with the GNSS observations for the determination of the combined GNSS orbit using the two independent space techniques co-located onboard the Galileo satellites. The Galileo orbit determination strategies, as well as the usage of laser ranging to the navigation satellites, is crucial, especially in the light of the discussion concerning possible usability of the Galileo observation in the future realizations of the International Terrestrial Reference Frames.    

In this study, we present results from the precise Galileo orbit determination using the combined GNSS data transmitted by the Galileo satellites and the range measurements performed by the ILRS stations. We test different weighting strategies for GNSS and SLR observations. We test the formal errors of the Keplerian elements which significantly decrease when we apply the same weights for SLR  and GNSS data. However, in such a manner, we deteriorate the internal consistency of the solution, i.e., the orbit misclosures.  

For the solution with optimal weighting strategy, we present results of the quality of Galileo orbit predictions based on the combined solutions, as well as the SLR residuals. The combined GNSS+SLR solution seems to be especially favorable for the Galileo In-Orbit Validation (IOV) satellites, for which the standard deviation (STD) of the SLR residuals decreases by 13% as compared to the microwave solutions, whereas for the Galileo-FOC satellite the improvement of the STD of SLR residuals is at the level of 9%. Finally, we test the impact of adding SLR observations to the LAGEOS satellites which stabilizes the GNSS solutions, especially in terms of the realization of terrestrial reference frame origin. 

How to cite: Bury, G., Sośnica, K., Zajdel, R., and Strugarek, D.: Precise Galileo orbit determination using combined GNSS and SLR observations, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-340, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-340, 2020.

D1770 |
Florian Dilssner, Erik Schönemann, Volker Mayer, Tim Springer, Francisco Gonzalez, and Werner Enderle

To produce Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) orbits and clocks with high accuracy and for all constellations, the ESA’s Navigation Support Office (NSO) continually strives to keep abreast and improve its precise orbit determination (POD) strategies. In this presentation, we report on NSO’s recent developments and progress in Galileo and BeiDou POD. We first discuss the approach of improving Galileo POD solutions through a prudent combination of radiometric and satellite laser ranging (SLR) measurements at the observation level. For this technique to be effective, SLR normal point (NP) data from the Galileo SUCCESS campaign are used. Launched by the European Laser Network (EUROLAS) in the middle of May 2019, this three-week tracking campaign provided over 1000 NPs for two selected Galileo spacecraft: GSAT0102 and GSAT0220. We show that the precision of the GSAT0102 and GSAT0220 orbits is more than 10 percent better than that produced by solutions without SLR data. In this performance evaluation, we also discuss the presence of station-specific SLR biases, taking advantage of near-simultaneous SLR tracking by two or three separate laser sites. Additionally, we demonstrate that the SLR full-rate data from a single kHz laser system can be used to determine the Galileo satellites’ yaw state during eclipse maneuvers. This approach takes advantage of the 1.0 m distance between a Galileo spacecraft’s laser retroreflector array (LRA) and rotation axis to estimate the yaw angle in a recursive least-squares algorithm epoch by epoch. The method may serve as an interesting alternative to reverse kinematic point positioning (RPP), particularly for LRA-equipped satellites without significant transmit antenna phase center offsets. Finally, we present the first centimeter-quality orbit solutions for BeiDou’s third-generation series of medium Earth orbit (MEO) spacecraft. We discuss the POD strategy underlying these orbits and evaluate its performance by way of several metrics including laser range residuals, day-to-day orbit overlaps, satellite clock residuals, as well as RPP estimates as measure for the attitude model accuracy. Challenges pertaining to the satellite antenna phase center and radiation force modeling are addressed. The results on the overlap and SLR residuals suggest that our BeiDou-3 MEO orbits are accurate to better than 5 cm in all three components. Therefore, the new BeiDou constellation is fully integrated into our operational multi-GNSS routine, bringing the total number of daily processed GNSS satellites to more than 110 (http://navigation-office.esa.int/products/gnss-products).

How to cite: Dilssner, F., Schönemann, E., Mayer, V., Springer, T., Gonzalez, F., and Enderle, W.: Recent Advances in Galileo and BeiDou Precise Orbit Determination, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-18361, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-18361, 2020.

D1771 |
Dmitry Sidorov, Rolf Dach, and Adrian Jäggi

Over the course of 2016 and 2017 the European GNSS Agency (GSA) made the Galileo satellite meta information publicly available. This long-awaited metadata package included details on satellite mass, dimensions, surface optical properties, attitude law as well as the antenna phase center corrections. As a result of this undertaking, the GNSS community initiated numerous studies to advance orbit models for these spacecrafts. In particular, the Center for Orbit Determination in Europe (CODE) refined the Empirical CODE Orbit Model (ECOM2) to adopt it to these lightweight satellites. This extended ECOM2 is currently used for computation of the CODE precise products involving Galileo (the Ultra-Rapid, Rapid and Multi-GNSS Extension (MGEX) products) in the frame of the International GNSS Service (IGS) activities.

The Galileo satellites carry state-of-the-art passive hydrogen maser (PHM) clocks that have been marked by high stability by many research groups. The commonly adopted procedure for the satellite clock corrections computation includes introduction of orbits estimated beforehand. This is served to fix the geometry between satellites and ground stations with a disadvantage that the estimated satellite clock corrections to a large degree depend on the quality of the introduced orbits. As a consequence, the estimated satellite clock corrections may suffer from potential radial orbital errors.

In this study we make an attempt to assess empirical orbit models used for Galileo satellites by introducing clock modelling in our precise orbit determination (POD) procedure. Thus, we take advantage of the stability of the PHM clocks operated by the Galileo satellites to introduce additional constraints to the radial orbital component already during the dynamic POD step. The obtained results suggest that introducing a satellite clock model to POD leads to improvements in solutions if the employed dynamic orbit model is correct. Also, in view of increasing number of GNSS satellites using well-performing clocks, the POD employing clock modelling appears to have high potential in further refining of orbit models.

How to cite: Sidorov, D., Dach, R., and Jäggi, A.: Taking advantage of satellite clock stability for Galileo orbit model performance assessment., EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-18550, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-18550, 2020.

D1772 |
Taylor Thomas, Scott Luthcke, Teresa Pennington, Joseph Nicholas, David Rowlands, and Timothy Rebold

The Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission launched on September 15th, 2018, with the primary goal of measuring ice sheet topographic change. The fundamental measurement used to achieve mission science objectives is the geolocation of individual photon bounce points. Geolocation is computed as a function of three complex measurements: (1) the position of the laser altimeter instrument in inertial space, (2) the pointing of each of the six individual laser beams in inertial space, and (3) the photon event round trip travel time observation measured by the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) instrument. ICESat-2 Precision Orbit Determination (POD) is responsible for computing the first of these; the precise position of the laser altimeter instrument.

ICESat-2 carries two identical on-board GPS receivers, both manufactured by RUAG Space. Tracking data collected by GPS receiver #1 is used as the primary data source for generating POD solutions. POD is performed using GEODYN, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s state-of-the-art orbit determination and geodetic parameter estimation software, and a reduced-dynamic solution strategy is employed. The GPS-based POD solutions are calibrated and validated using independent Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) data from ground-based tracking stations.

ICESat-2 mission requirements state that the POD solutions must have a one-sigma radial accuracy of 3 cm over a 24-hour time interval. Here we show that early mission ICESat-2 POD performance is exceeding mission requirements. We describe in-depth the ICESat-2 spacecraft macro-model, used for non-conservative force modeling, and the results from tuning of the associated parameters. Lastly, we show the iterated GPS receiver antenna phase center variation map solution and assess its impact on POD performance.

How to cite: Thomas, T., Luthcke, S., Pennington, T., Nicholas, J., Rowlands, D., and Rebold, T.: ICESat-2 Precision Orbit Determination Performance, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10780, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-10780, 2020.

D1773 |
Karl-Hans Neumayer, Patrick Schreiner, Rolf König, and Anna Michalak

How to cite: Neumayer, K.-H., Schreiner, P., König, R., and Michalak, A.: On SENTINEL-3A and -3B DORIS, GPS and SLR precise orbit determination, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-22070, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-22070, 2020.

D1774 |
Javier Berzosa, Marc Fernández Usón, Jaime Fernández Sánchez, Heike Peter, and Pierre Féménias

The Copernicus POD (Precise Orbit Determination) Service delivers, as part of the PDGS of the Copernicus Sentinel-1, -2, and -3 missions, orbital products and auxiliary data files for their use in the corresponding PDGS processing chains. The precise orbit results from the three missions are validated based on orbit comparisons to independent orbit solutions from member of the Copernicus POD Quality Working Group (QWG). In the case of Sentinel-3 a validation based on satellite laser tracking (SLR) measurements is also possible. The orbit comparisons are done based on orbit time series. Typically, only daily RMS metrics are derived, and its time-series mean and standard deviation are provided. Another possibility is to analyse the dependence of orbit differences with geographical differences; this is already done for the altimeter satellites to guarantee long-term stability of the orbit solutions.

Geographical orbit differences may reveal systematics due to, e.g., different background models or different geocenter motion models used in the orbit determination process. The geographical orbit differences of all six satellites and from all POD QWG contributions are analysed and checked for model- or satellite-specific systematics to improve the orbit quality and long-term stability.   

Additionally, it is proposed to analyse the orbit differences (with respect to other orbital solutions, either reduced-dynamic or kinematic) with Fourier transformation, in order to derive amplitude vs. frequency plots. This could provide light into the sub-daily differences. The Fourier analysis of the sub-daily differences will be assessed for all the six satellites.

How to cite: Berzosa, J., Fernández Usón, M., Fernández Sánchez, J., Peter, H., and Féménias, P.: Copernicus Sentinel Orbit Validation – Investigations on systematic geographical differences, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-13184, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-13184, 2020.

D1775 |
Marc Fernández, Virginia Raposo, Jaime Fernández Sánchez, Heike Peter, and Pierre Féménias

The European Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission, a jointly operated mission by ESA and EUMETSAT, consists of two satellites equipped with GPS and DORIS receivers, and a Laser Retro Reflector (LRR) array, which allows tracking the satellites by Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR). The SLR observations are mainly used for the validation of GPS- and/or DORIS-derived precise orbit solutions. The SLR residuals are derived from the simple difference between observed and computed range between SLR station and the satellite. Only a subset of the SLR stations tracking the satellites is normally used for this purpose. The subset consists of stations delivering good quality observations on a long-term. The station selection is regularly reviewed to guarantee a continuous quality for the orbit validation.

Instead of using only a subset of the stations it would be preferable to use as many laser tracking data as possible. Long-term and highly accurate orbit time series of low Earth orbiting satellites can be used to estimate station range biases. The SLR validation is significantly improved by adding these station range biases due to additional stations and due to the removal of SLR related systematic patterns.

In the Copernicus POD Service (CPOD), the SLR station range biases are estimated based on a combined Sentinel-3A and -3B orbits computed from different orbit providers (the CPOD Quality Working Group). Performance, quality, mission dependency and stability of these SLR station range biases are analysed based on operational CPOD orbits and orbit solutions delivered by the Copernicus POD Quality Working Group.

How to cite: Fernández, M., Raposo, V., Fernández Sánchez, J., Peter, H., and Féménias, P.: Improved SLR orbit validation for Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-13256, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-13256, 2020.

D1776 |
Heike Peter, Javier Berzosa, Jaime Fernández, and Pierre Féménias

The Copernicus POD (Precise Orbit Determination) Service is responsible for the generation of precise orbital products of the Copernicus Sentinel-1, -2, and -3 missions. In the near future, the processing setup of the Copernicus POD Service will be updated to state-of-the-art background models (geopotential, ocean tides and atmospheric gravity) and the use of single-receiver ambiguity fixing using CODE (Center for Orbit Determination in Europe) products.

In the current orbit parametrization of the six satellites, a solar radiation pressure coefficient is estimated for each daily arc. To provide long-term stability, in particular for the time series of the altimeter Sentinel-3 satellites, it would be preferable to use a constant solar radiation pressure coefficient in the processing. A reprocessing based on the updated models and set-up will be used to compute daily estimates of the solar radiation pressure coefficient for all satellites. The analysis may reveal satellite model deficiencies and might help to improve the satellite macro-models.

Mean values of the solar radiation pressure coefficients from the long-term series can be used on future operational processing. At the same time a refinement of the selection of the estimated orbit parameters might also be done if necessary, in particular the empirical accelerations. Impact on the orbit determination results and on the quality of the orbits is presented for all six satellites.

How to cite: Peter, H., Berzosa, J., Fernández, J., and Féménias, P.: Long-term evaluation of estimated solar radiation pressure coefficients from Copernicus Sentinel-1, -2, -3 satellites, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-5288, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-5288, 2020.

D1777 |
Xinyuan Mao, Daniel Arnold, and Adrian Jäggi

Sentinel-3 is an Earth observation satellite formation of the European Space Agency (ESA) devoted to oceanography and land-vegetation monitoring. It operates as a crucial segment of the Copernicus Programme coordinated by the European Union. Up until now, two identical Sentinel-3 satellites, Sentinel-3A and -3B, have been launched into a circular sun-synchronous orbit with an altitude of about 800 km. Their prime onboard payload systems, e.g. radar altimeter, necessitate high-precision orbits, particularly in the radial direction. This can be fulfilled by using the collected measurements from the onboard dual-frequency high-precision multi-channel Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. The equipped laser retro-reflector allows for external and independent validation to the GPS-derived orbits.

This research will outline the recent Precise Orbit Determination (POD) methodology developments at the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern (AIUB) and investigate  the POD comparison between Sentinel-3A and -3B satellites. On one hand, a refined satellite non-gravitational force modeling strategy is newly implemented into the BERNESE GNSS software. It consists of comprehensive modeling of atmospheric drag, solar radiation pressure and Earth albedo/radiation pressure based on an 8-plate satellite macromodel. Radiation pressure is modeled considering spontaneous re-emission for non-solar plates. Besides, a linear interpolation between monthly Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) S4 grid products is specifically done for the Earth albedo/radiation pressure modeling. On the other hand, use is made of the GNSS Observation-Specific Bias (OSB) products provided by the Center for Orbit Determination in Europe (CODE), allowing for the so-called single-receiver ambiguity resolution.

A test period is selected from 7/Jun/2018 to 14/Oct/2018 (Day of Year: 158-287), when Sentinel-3A and -3B satellites operated in a tandem formation maintained at a separation of about 30 s. This foresees nearly identical in-flight environment for both satellites and thereby enables direct POD performance comparison. The single-receiver (zero-difference) ambiguity-fixed orbit solutions can also be compared with the double-difference ambiguity-fixed baseline solution. Results reveal that the implemented non-gravitational force modeling in POD leads to a reduction of empirical acceleration estimates, which are designated to compensate uncertainties in the satellite dynamic models. Single-receiver ambiguity resolution further improves the reduced-dynamic orbits and significant enhancement occurs to the kinematic orbits. This research implies promising benefits to the Sentinel-3 scientific research community.

How to cite: Mao, X., Arnold, D., and Jäggi, A.: Sentinel-3A/3B orbit determination using non-gravitational force modeling and single-receiver ambiguity resolution, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-16611, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-16611, 2020.

D1778 |
Kristin Vielberg and Jürgen Kusche

Space-borne accelerometers measure the sum of all non-gravitational forces, which interact with the surface of a spacecraft. For low Earth orbit satellites, the atmospheric drag is the largest non-gravitational force. With increasing satellite altitude, the acceleration due to the Earth radiation pressure becomes less relevant, whereas the effect of the Solar radiation pressure becomes prevalent. Accurately modeled non-gravitational forces are necessary for precise orbit determination, satellite gravimetry, or thermospheric density estimation.

In this study, we apply an inverse procedure with the aim to overcome remaining limitations in state-of-the-art radiation pressure force models. We estimate corrections of limiting parameters such as the satellite’s thermo-optical material properties or systematic errors in Earth radiation data sets. We define different parameterizations and analyse their estimability in terms of rank deficiency and condition numbers. Correlation analyses between estimated parameters will help to detect and overcome multicollinearity. The results are expected to improve the estimation of certain physical radiation pressure model parameters from satellite accelerometer data. Here, the inverse modeling is based on calibrated accelerometer measurements from the satellite mission Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE).

How to cite: Vielberg, K. and Kusche, J.: Estimation of Earth- and satellite-related parameters in radiation pressure modeling from space-borne accelerometry, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-2587, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-2587, 2020.

D1779 |
Florent Deleflie, Changyong Hé, Carine Briand, Muhammad Ali Sammuneh, and Pieter Visser

This paper is focused on precise orbitography with SLR data, using as well when they are available accelerometric data, as in the GRACE mission. The main purpose of this paper is to analyse whether low SLR satellite orbits (namely Starlette, Stella, Lares, Ajisai) are sensitive or not to variations of the atmospheric density due to solar events over the period 2003-2019, and including the ones that occurred in 2017.

The relationships between solar events and the way they modify the density of the Earth's thermosphere, as revealed by perturbations induced on artificial satellites orbits, are in fact of crucial importance for satellite operators. A wide literature focused on these issues already exists, but it appears to the authors that some improvements of thermosphere models are still expected, especially at high latitudes. This paper aims, hence, at contributing to fill a gap in that direction.  

We first select over the period 1984-2019 a list of solar events that may be representative of the conditions that may heat the terrestrial atmosphere, in terms of geometrical configurations and the intensity of solar activity. The goal is to identify whether these events have impacted or not the thermospheric density at some relevant altitudes; therefore, a post-fit residual analysis is provided, accounting for the whole set of tracking data acquired by the stations of the ILRS network. A comprehensive comparison between precise results obtained with SLR and accelerometric data, using different atmospheric drag modelling, is then provided.

How to cite: Deleflie, F., Hé, C., Briand, C., Sammuneh, M. A., and Visser, P.: Impacts of solar events on atmospheric density variations as revealed by Satellite Laser Ranging orbits. , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-21223, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-21223, 2020.

D1780 |
Hugues Capdeville

The processing configuration for our IDS contribution to the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF2020) realization was defined. We adopted the last standards and models recommended by IERS. We took into account the IDS recommendations to mitigate the non-conservative force model error on satellites, to mitigate the effect of the South Atlantic Anomaly on the DORIS receivers and to improve the stability of the DORIS scale.

A Precise Orbit Determination (POD) status for DORIS satellites by taking into account all these improvements will be presented for the processed time span. We will give statistical results such as one per revolution empirical acceleration amplitudes and orbit residuals. We will also give some comparisons to some external precise orbits used for altimetry. Some external validations of our orbits will be done, such as with independent SLR measurements processing as well as through the use of altimeter crossovers when available. We will also look at the impact of our new ITRF2020 configuration on the DORIS geocenter and scale.


How to cite: Capdeville, H.: Preliminary DORIS results on Precise Orbit Determination and on geocenter and scale solutions from CNES/CLS IDS Analysis Center contribution to the ITRF2020, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-21245, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-21245, 2020.

D1781 |
Impact of re-scaled macro models for GNSS orbit determination
Arturo Villiger, Rolf Dach, and Adrian Jäggi
D1782 |
Bingbing Duan, Urs Hugentobler, and Inga Selmke

Within the IGS (International GNSS Service), precise orbit and clock products of GPS and GLONASS satellites as well as Earth rotation parameters (ERPs) are routinely generated by individual analysis centers. As the dominant non-gravitational perturbation, solar radiation pressure (SRP) is modeled differently by different centers. Without surface properties, the empirical CODE orbit models (ECOM, ECOM2) are mostly used. We find that the ECOM models are not optimal for GLONASS satellites, especially during the eclipsing seasons. Also, the use of a conventional a priori box-wing (BW) model does not help much. By assessing the ECOM estimates we conclude that there are potential radiators on the –x surface of GLONASS satellites causing orbit perturbations in eclipse as well. Based on this finding, we firstly adjust optical properties of GLONASS satellites considering the potential radiator and thermal radiation effects. Then, we introduce all the adjusted parameters into a new a priori model and jointly use it together with the ECOM models. Results show that orbit misclosure between two consecutive arcs reduces by about 30 % for the ECOM model during the eclipsing seasons. In addition, the spurious pattern of the satellite laser ranging (SLR) residuals is greatly reduced. Also, we have repeated the same adjustment of optical properties for GPS satellites by using 6 years’ data (2014 - 2019). We evaluate GPS orbits, ERPs and geocenter products calculated with different SRP models (ECOM, ECOM+BW, ECOM2, ECOM2+BW, adjustable BW, GSPM) and present corresponding systematic errors of each product at harmonics of the GPS draconitic year.

How to cite: Duan, B., Hugentobler, U., and Selmke, I.: Solar radiation pressure model of GPS and GLONASS satellites considering potential surface radiator impact, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-8239, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-8239, 2020.

D1783 |
Xiao Chang, Benjamin Männel, Harald Schuh, and Roman Galas

As one of the products of the International GNSS Service (IGS), precise orbits for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) play an important role in many geoscientific applications. Currently, the precision and consistency of GNSS orbits are still limited by insufficient knowledge of spacecraft response to non-conservative perturbations, of which the solar radiation pressure (SRP) has the strongest influence. SRP modeling strategies adopted by IGS Analysis Centers (ACs) can be categorized: 1) analytical SRP model like the ROCK models (Fliegel et al. 1992), 2) empirical representation, for example by estimating ECOM parameters (Beutler et al. 1994, Springer et al. 1999a, and Arnold et al. 2015), and 3) the combination of both, hybrid empirical-physical SRP model such as adjustable box-wing model (e.g. Rodriguez-Solano et al. 2012). While empirical models fit the observations well, the loss of physical explanation may cause unexpected systematic errors. Uncertainties in the a-priori SRP models, which rely on the optical coefficients and surface structure of the satellites, can also degrade the determined orbit systematically. Using a hybrid model, i.e. estimation of empirical parameters on top of a-priori model, is expected to take the advantage of the existing satellite properties and to compensate for the inaccuracy related to the satellite properties based on observations. Thus, different hybrid models have to be tested for each constellation and block type.


In this study, we assess the GNSS precise orbit determination (POD) based on different setups of a-priori models and ECOM parametrization. The results will be presented as follows: 1) first, the orbits difference introduced by a-priori model is analyzed by comparing orbit with the one based on pure ECOM models. 2) Second, the effect of a-priori models will be discussed by assessing the estimated ECOM parameters. 3) Third, the derived orbit will be compared with the final orbits of selected IGS ACs. 4) The effect of the selected SRP modeling strategy on geodetic parameters will be discussed with special focus on the estimated station coordinates.

How to cite: Chang, X., Männel, B., Schuh, H., and Galas, R.: Impact of a-priori SRP models and ECOM models on GNSS precise orbit determination, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-9936, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-9936, 2020.

D1784 |
Xinghan Chen, Maorong Ge, and Harald Schuh

Currently, with the rapid development of the third generation of BeiDou satellite system (BDS-3), the corresponding solar radiation pressure (SRP) forces should be well and soon modeled in order to enhance the performance of precise orbit determination (POD) and precise clock estimation (PCE) for high-precision applications. In this contribution, the BDS-3 post-processed and ultra-rapid PODs have been realized by fully exploiting data provided by the International GNSS Service (IGS). We firstly test the Center for Orbit Determination in Europe (CODE) SRP model (ECOM1) and ECOM2 models and notice a large disagreement of overlapping orbits at the boundary of two adjacent days within an eclipse period. The reason for this could be that the ECOM2 model is over-parameterized or an extra periodic SRP term should be considered. Furthermore, our numerical analyses confirm that the cosinus terms must be excluded and the fourth- and sixth-order SRP sinus terms are significant in the Sun direction for the SRP model of BDS-3 satellites. Therefore, a new SRP model is developed herein to improve BDS-3 orbits, especially for eclipse season. Using the new SRP model, the large fluctuations of 20 cm can be reduced to below 10 cm for the radial-track component of overlapping orbits over eclipse seasons and SLR residuals are improved by a factor of 2 compared to that of ECOM1 and ECOM2. For the predicted orbits, the improvement due to the new SRP model is also demonstrated and the mean offsets of overlapping orbit differences over the eclipse periods can be reduced from -9.3 cm, -18.9 cm, and 39.9 cm to -5.5 cm, 8.3 cm, and 12.7 cm in the radial, cross, and along directions, respectively.

How to cite: Chen, X., Ge, M., and Schuh, H.: A new solar radiation pressure model for BDS-3 satellites, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-5985, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-5985, 2020.

D1785 |
Hanbing Peng, Maorong Ge, Yuanxi Yang, Harald Schuh, and Roman Galas

Since November 2017, the 3rd generation BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS-3) of China has stepped into an intensive build-up phase. Up to the end of 2019, there are 5 experimental and 28 operational BDS-3 satellites in the space. Besides that, 16 BDS-2 legacy satellites are still providing Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) service for Asia-Pacific users. Unlike BDS-2 satellites, BDS-3 satellites will not transmit signal on frequency B2I which is one of the open service frequencies of BDS-2 and will be replaced by B2a of BDS-3. For legacy signals, only that on B1I and B3I will be transmitted by all BDS-3 satellites. Therefore, current routine scheme that generates precise orbit and clock products with B1I+B2I combination observations becomes infeasible for BDS-3. Observation combination used for product generation of BDS-2 could be switched to B1I+B3I combination as well. However, this might cause discontinuity in BDS-2 products as different hardware delays specific to signals are contained in them. In this study, combined processing of BDS-2 and BDS-3 satellites to generate consistent precise orbit and clock products is researched. To elaborate the impact of observation biases between BDS-2 and BDS-3, different combined Precise Orbit Determination (POD) processing schemes are examined. It shows that receiver biases between BDS-2 and BDS-3 should be considered in combined POD which is clear from the post-fit residuals of observations, especially from that of BDS-3 code observations. After estimating those biases between B1I+B2I of BDS-2 and B1I+B3I of BDS-3, Root-Mean-Square (RMS) of BDS-3 code observations decreases from 5.07 to 1.23 m. The results show that, biases of B1I+B3I between BDS-2 and BDS-3 are relatively small, less than 4 m for most receivers and around 1.2 m on average. But their estimates are stable with standard deviations (STDs) of 0.13 ~ 0.34 m depending on receiver types. Influences of these biases on the POD results are limited. However, biases between B1I+B2I of BDS-2 and B1I+B3I of BDS-3 are more significant, from -10 to 30 m for different receivers. Except for Septentrio receivers, quantities of those biases are basically related to the receiver types. Averages of biases from Trimble, JAVAD and Leica receivers are 18.5, 5.0 and 10.0 m, respectively. Those biases are also estimated with very small STDs, which ranges from 0.13 to 0.28 m. It is demonstrated that those receiver biases should be properly handle in combined POD processing of BDS-2 and BDS-3 satellites. As B1I+B2I is more appropriate for BDS-2, using different observation combinations for BDS-2 and BDS-3 in combined POD processing is more preferred over the scheme in which B1I+B3I is used for both BDS-2 and BDS-3.

How to cite: Peng, H., Ge, M., Yang, Y., Schuh, H., and Galas, R.: Combined Precise Orbit Determination for BDS-2 and BDS-3 Satellites, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-9354, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-9354, 2020.

D1786 |
Mohammad Ali Goudarzi

In order to enable our new PPP processing engine and online service to work in full multi-GNSS mode, and provide high quality precise GNSS orbit and clock (POD) products to IGS and international geodetic community, Canadian Geodetic Survey (known as EMR) has started to modernize his POD system. The new system is based on GipsyX and in-house software development and will replace our current POD system in near future. When become operational, the new POD system will produce multi-GNSS precise orbit and clock corrections with ambiguity resolution along with wide-lane and phase biases using zero-differenced, dual-frequency, ionosphere-free phase and code observations in RINEX 2 and 3 formats estimated in combined solution. The new system also benefits from advanced features such as removing observations affected by ionospheric scintillation and ground stations affected by earthquake as well as real-time monitoring of estimated position time-series of ground stations, among others.

How to cite: Goudarzi, M. A.: Modernizing Canadian Geodetic Survey’s precise GNSS orbit and clock system, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-19612, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-19612, 2020.

D1787 |
Tomasz Kur, Tomasz Liwosz, and Maciej Kalarus

This research aims at evaluation of the Variance Component Estimation (VCE) to derive a combined orbit solution from the Inter-Satellite Links (ISLs) and GNSS measurements. The ISLs provide precise range measurements between satellites in the specific GNSS constellation which is one of the key requirements for improving accuracy and reliability of the orbit determination. Our investigation based on various ISLs connectivity schemes (observation scenarios) indicates that by using ISLs measurements in addition to GNSS observations, it is possible to improve orbit estimation mainly by reducing RMS errors in cross-track and along-track directions.

This study, however, is focused on comparison of weighting methods based on presupposed measurement accuracies (described here as an empirical weighting) and four approaches to the VCE method. VCE is a method used to determine proper weighting factors for different types of measurements, e.g. of diverse nature or based on distinct techniques and thus of various accuracy. It is expected that systematic and random errors of the individual solutions could be reduced by this combination method. In this simulation-based study we assess orbit solutions using both types of weighting with a few approaches to the empirical weighting as well as to the VCE. In parallel, we evaluate properties of the simulated ISLs measurements including the connectivity schemes and observation accuracy.

This work is concluded with general advantages and disadvantages of proposed weighting methods along with the observation scenarios, that are potentially optimal for better orbit and clock estimates using ISLs and GNSS observations.

How to cite: Kur, T., Liwosz, T., and Kalarus, M.: Study on the Variance Component Estimation in relative weighting of the Inter-Satellite Links and GNSS observations for orbit determination, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-7229, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-7229, 2020.