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Journal of Applied Geodesy

Editor-in-Chief: Kahmen, Heribert / Rizos, Chris

Editorial Board Member: Brunner, Fritz K. / Dodson, Alan H. / Eichhorn, Andreas / El-Sheimy, Naser / Ge, Linlin / Grejner-Brzezinska, Dorota / Hwang, Cheinway / Kealy, Allison / Kutterer, Hansjörg / Mentes, Gyula / Mok, Esmond / Niemeier, Wolfgang / Retscher, Günther / Xu, Caijun

4 Issues per year


Monitoring of the reflectors of ESA's Planck telescope by close-range photogrammetry

Jafar Amiri Parian1 / Armin Gruen2 / Alessandro Cozzani3

1 Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. E-mail:

2 Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. E-mail:

3 European Space Agency – ESTEC (TEC-TCE), the Netherlands. E-mail:

Citation Information: Journal of Applied Geodesy jag. Volume 1, Issue 3, Pages 137–145, ISSN (Online) 1862-9024, ISSN (Print) 1862-9016, DOI: 10.1515/jag.2007.016, January 2008

Publication History

Published Online:


The Planck mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) is designed to image the anisotropies of the Cosmic Background Radiation Field over the whole sky. Planck's objective is to analyze, with the highest accuracy ever achieved, the remnants of the radiation that filled the universe immediately after the Big Bang, which we observe today as the cosmic microwave background. To achieve this aim well-manufactured reflectors are used as parts of the Planck telescope receiving system. The system consists of the Secondary and Primary Reflectors which are sections of two different ellipsoids of revolution with diameters of 1.1 and 1.9 meters. Deformations of the reflectors which influence the optical parameters and the gain of receiving signals are investigated in vacuum and at temperatures down to 95K, using close-range photogrammetric techniques. We have designed an optimal close-range photogrammetric network by heuristic simulation for the Primary and Secondary Reflectors with a mean relative precision better than 1:1,000,000 and 1:400,000, respectively, to achieve the requested accuracies. Special considerations have been taken into account in different steps of design, such as the determinability of additional parameters under the given network configuration, datum definition, reliability and precision issues as well as workspace limits and propagating errors from different sources of errors. A least squares best-fit ellipsoid was developed to determine the optical parameters of the reflector. We present our procedure and the results of processing the photogrammetric measurements of the Flight Models of the Primary and Secondary Reflectors which were executed by Thales Alenia Space France under ESA-ESTEC contract in vacuum and at very low temperatures.

Keywords: Planck telescope; photogrammetric network design; system calibration; deformation monitoring; best-fit ellipsoid

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