Global non-dynamic refinement of radial orbit error for altimetric earth satellites

  • Rory D. Gray

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The accuracy of altimetrically derived oceanographic and geophysical information is limited by the precision of the radial component of the satellite ephemeris. A non-dynamic technique is proposed as a method of reducing the global radial orbit error of altimetric satellites. This involves the recovery of each coefficient of an analytically derived radial error correction through a refinement of crossover difference residuals. The crossover data is supplemented by absolute height measurements to permit the retrieval of otherwise unobservable geographically correlated and linearly combined parameters. The feasibility of the radial reduction procedure is established upon application to the three day repeat orbit of SEASAT.
    The concept of arc aggregates is devised as a means of extending the method to incorporate longer durations, such as the 35 day repeat period of ERS-1. A continuous orbit is effectively created by including the radial misclosure between consecutive long arcs as an infallible observation. The arc aggregate procedure is validated using a combination of three successive SEASAT ephemerides. A complete simulation of the 501 revolution per 35 day repeat orbit of ERS-1 is derived and the recovery of the global radial orbit error over the full repeat period is successfully accomplished.
    The radial reduction is dependent upon the geographical locations of the supplementary direct height data. Investigations into the respective influences of various sites proposed for the tracking of ERS-1 by ground-based transponders are carried out. The potential effectiveness on the radial orbital accuracy of locating future tracking sites in regions of high latitudinal magnitude is demonstrated.
    Date of AwardJul 1993
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorPhilip Moore (Supervisor)


    • crossover
    • SEASAT and ERS-1
    • transponder
    • arc aggregate
    • repeat orbit

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