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Relative positioning of formation-flying spacecraft using single-receiver GPS carrier phase ambiguity fixing

Allende-Alba, Gerardo and Montenbruck, Oliver and Hackel, Stefan and Tossaint, Michel (2018) Relative positioning of formation-flying spacecraft using single-receiver GPS carrier phase ambiguity fixing. GPS Solutions, 22 (3), p. 68. Springer. DOI: 10.1007/s10291-018-0734-x ISSN 1080-5370

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In recent years, differential carrier phase-based relative positioning (or “baseline determination”) with precision at the millimeter and submillimeter levels has been demonstrated for the GRACE, TanDEM-X and Swarm missions in offline processing. Specific features of such missions have included the use of spacecraft of similar shapes placed in almost identical orbits as well as the use of consistent geodetic-class GPS receivers. These elements have proven to be advantageous for the computation of baseline solutions with such precision levels. Particularly, they have allowed to fully leverage the use of differential GPS techniques, including the estimation and use of carrier phase integer ambiguities. Similarly, the aforementioned spacecraft and orbit characteristics have made it possible to tightly constrain the relative dynamics of formations in the generation of reduced-dynamic solutions. Other than the former examples, prospective formation-flying mission proposals, such as SAOCOM-CS and PICOSAR, may comprise spacecraft with very different characteristics, including dissimilar GPS/ GNSS receivers. Such cases may no longer provide favorable conditions for relative orbit determination strategies. As an alternative, absolute orbit solutions may be computed individually for each spacecraft and used for the generation of precise baseline products. This study aims at the assessment of the potential of single-receiver ambiguity fixing for the generation of precise baseline solutions. Results using flight data from the GRACE, TanDEM-X and Swarm missions exhibit baseline accuracy better than 5 mm (3D RMS) for a one-month test period in June 2016. As such, the presented solutions may be considered for prospective formation-flying remote sensing missions with baseline precision requirements at the subcentimeter level. Likewise, the method is considered of particular interest for future multi-spacecraft formations and swarms that require efficient determination of a large number of individual baselines.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/119957/
Document Type:Article
Title:Relative positioning of formation-flying spacecraft using single-receiver GPS carrier phase ambiguity fixing
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Montenbruck, OliverDLR/GSOChttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4783-745X
Hackel, Stefanstefan.hackel (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:GPS Solutions
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1007/s10291-018-0734-x
Page Range:p. 68
Keywords:Single-receiver ambiguity fixing · Precise baseline determination · Formation-flying spacecraft · Relative positioning
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 10:31
Last Modified:18 Jul 2018 09:18

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