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Impact of Swarm GPS receiver updates on POD performance

van den IJssel, Jose and Forte, Biagio and Montenbruck, Oliver (2016) Impact of Swarm GPS receiver updates on POD performance. Earth Planets and Space, pp. 68-85. Springer. DOI: 10.1186/s40623-016-0459-4 ISSN 1343-8832

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Abstract

The Swarm satellites are equipped with state-of-the-art Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, which are used for the precise geolocation of the magnetic and electric field instruments, as well as for the determination of the Earth’s gravity field, the total electron content and low-frequency thermospheric neutral densities. The onboard GPS receivers deliver high-quality data with an almost continuous data rate. However, the receivers show a slightly degraded performance when flying over the geomagnetic poles and the geomagnetic equator, due to ionospheric scintillation. Furthermore, with only eight channels available for dual-frequency tracking, the amount of collected GPS tracking data is relatively low compared with various other missions. Therefore, several modifications have been implemented to the Swarm GPS receivers. To optimise the amount of collected GPS data, the GPS antenna elevation mask has slowly been reduced from 10° to 2°. To improve the robustness against ionospheric scintillation, the bandwidths of the GPS receiver tracking loops have been widened. Because these modifications were first implemented on Swarm- C, their impact can be assessed by a comparison with the close flying Swarm-A satellite. This shows that both modifications have a positive impact on the GPS receiver performance. The reduced elevation mask increases the amount of GPS tracking data by more than 3 %, while the updated tracking loops lead to around 1.3 % more observations and a significant reduction in tracking losses due to severe equatorial scintillation. The additional observations at low elevation angles increase the average noise of the carrier phase observations, but nonetheless slightly improve the resulting reduced-dynamic and kinematic orbit accuracy as shown by independent satellite laser ranging (SLR) validation. The more robust tracking loops significantly reduce the large carrier phase observation errors at the geomagnetic poles and along the geomagnetic equator and do not degrade the observations at midlatitudes. SLR validation indicates that the updated tracking loops also improve the reduced-dynamic and kinematic orbit accuracy. It is expected that the Swarm gravity field recovery will benefit from the improved kinematic orbit quality and potentially also from the expected improvement of the kinematic baseline determination and the anticipated reduction in the systematic gravity field errors along the geomagnetic equator. Finally, other satellites that carry GPS receivers that encounter similar disturbances might also benefit from this analysis.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/109686/
Document Type:Article
Title:Impact of Swarm GPS receiver updates on POD performance
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
van den IJssel, JoseTU DelftUNSPECIFIED
Forte, BiagioUniv. of BathUNSPECIFIED
Montenbruck, OliverOliver.Montenbruck (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4783-745X
Date:2016
Journal or Publication Title:Earth Planets and Space
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:No
DOI :10.1186/s40623-016-0459-4
Page Range:pp. 68-85
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1343-8832
Status:Published
Keywords:Swarm, GPS, Precise orbit determination, Ionospheric scintillation, Elevation mask, Tracking loop
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Technology
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R SY - Technik für Raumfahrtsysteme
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Infrastruktur und Unterstützung für Raumflugbetrieb
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Space Operations and Astronaut Training
Deposited By: Montenbruck, Dr.rer.nat.hab. Oliver
Deposited On:16 Dec 2016 15:21
Last Modified:19 Apr 2018 05:03

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