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Satellite Laser Ranging to Low Earth Orbiters: Orbit and Network Validation

Arnold, Daniel and Montenbruck, Oliver and Hackel, Stefan and Sosnica, Krzysztof (2018) Satellite Laser Ranging to Low Earth Orbiters: Orbit and Network Validation. Journal of Geodesy. Springer. DOI: 10.1007/s00190-018-1140-4 ISSN 0949-7714

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Abstract

Satellite laser ranging (SLR) to low Earth orbiters (LEOs) provides optical distance measurements with mm-to-cm-level precision. SLR residuals, i.e., differences between measured and modeled ranges, serve as a common figure of merit for the quality assessment of orbits derived by radiometric tracking techniques. We discuss relevant processing standards for the modeling of SLR observations and highlight the importance of line-of-sight-dependent range corrections for the various types of laser retroreflector arrays. A 1–3cm consistency of SLR observations and GPS-based precise orbits is demonstrated for a wide range of past and present LEO missions supported by the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS). A Parameter estimation approach is presented to investigate systematic orbit errors and it is shown that SLR validation of LEO satellites is not only able to detect radial but also along-track and cross-track offsets. SLR residual statistics clearly depend on the employed precise orbit determination technique (kinematic vs. reduced-dynamic, float vs. fixed ambiguities) but also reveal pronounced differences in the ILRS station performance. Using the residual-based parameter estimation approach, corrections to ILRS station coordinates, range biases, and timing offsets are derived. As a result, root-mean-square residuals of 5–10mmhave been achieved over a 1-year data arc in 2016 using observations from a subset of high-performance stations and ambiguity-fixed orbits of four LEO missions. As a final contribution, we demonstrate that SLR can not only validate single-satellite Orbit solutions but also precise baseline solutions of formation flying missions such as GRACE, TanDEM-X, and Swarm.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/119956/
Document Type:Article
Title:Satellite Laser Ranging to Low Earth Orbiters: Orbit and Network Validation
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Arnold, DanielAIUBUNSPECIFIED
Montenbruck, OliverDLR/GSOChttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4783-745X
Hackel, Stefanstefan.hackel (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Sosnica, KrzysztofWrocław Universityhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-6181-1307
Date:2018
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Geodesy
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1007/s00190-018-1140-4
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0949-7714
Status:Published
Keywords:Precise orbit determination, Satellite laser ranging, Laser retroreflector array, GPS, Orbit and network validation
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):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:22 May 2018 10:28
Last Modified:22 May 2018 10:28

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