EGU21-7142, updated on 08 Sep 2023
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Co-location of SLR and GNSS techniques onboard Galileo and GLONASS satellites

Grzegorz Bury1, Krzysztof Sośnica1, Radosław Zajdel1, Dariusz Strugarek1, and Urs Hugentobler2
Grzegorz Bury et al.
  • 1Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformatics, Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Wrocław, Poland (
  • 2Institute for Astronomical and Physical Geodesy, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany (

All satellites of the Galileo and GLONASS navigation systems are equipped with laser retroreflector arrays for Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR). SLR observations to Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) provide the co-location of two space geodetic techniques onboard navigation satellites.

SLR observations, which are typically used for the validation of the microwave-GNSS orbits, can now contribute to the determination of the combined SLR+GNSS orbits of the navigation satellites. SLR measurements are especially helpful for periods when the elevation of the Sun above the orbital plane (β angle) is the highest. The quality of Galileo-IOV orbits calculated using combined SLR+GNSS observations improves from 36 to 30 mm for β> 60° as compared to the microwave-only solution. 

Co-location of two space techniques allows for the determination of the linkage between SLR and GNSS techniques in space. Based on the so-called space ties, it is possible to determine the 3D vector between the ground-based co-located SLR and GNSS stations and compare it with the local ties which are determined using the ground measurements. The agreement between local ties derived from co-location in space and ground measurements is at the level of 1 mm in terms of the long-term median values for the co-located station in Zimmerwald, Switzerland.

We also revise the approach for handling the SLR range biases which constitute one of the main error sources for the SLR measurements. The updated SLR range biases consider now the impact of not only of SLR-to-GNSS observations but also the SLR observations to LAGEOS and the microwave GNSS measurements. The updated SLR range biases improve the agreement between space ties and local ties from 34 mm to 23 mm for the co-located station in Wettzell, Germany.

Co-location of SLR and GNSS techniques onboard navigation satellites allows for the realization of the terrestrial reference frame in space, onboard Galileo and GLONASS satellites, independently from the ground measurements. It may also deliver independent information on the local tie values with full variance-covariance data for each day with common measurements or can contribute to the control of the ground measurements as long as both GNSS and SLR-to-GNSS observations are available.

How to cite: Bury, G., Sośnica, K., Zajdel, R., Strugarek, D., and Hugentobler, U.: Co-location of SLR and GNSS techniques onboard Galileo and GLONASS satellites, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7142,, 2021.