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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 4, 2018

Research on the impact factors of GRACE precise orbit determination by dynamic method

  • Nan-nan Guo EMAIL logo , Xu-hua Zhou , Kai Li and Bin Wu


With the successful use of GPS-only-based POD (precise orbit determination), more and more satellites carry onboard GPS receivers to support their orbit accuracy requirements. It provides continuous GPS observations in high precision, and becomes an indispensable way to obtain the orbit of LEO satellites. Precise orbit determination of LEO satellites plays an important role for the application of LEO satellites. Numerous factors should be considered in the POD processing. In this paper, several factors that impact precise orbit determination are analyzed, namely the satellite altitude, the time-variable earth’s gravity field, the GPS satellite clock error and accelerometer observation. The GRACE satellites provide ideal platform to study the performance of factors for precise orbit determination using zero-difference GPS data. These factors are quantitatively analyzed on affecting the accuracy of dynamic orbit using GRACE observations from 2005 to 2011 by SHORDE software. The study indicates that: (1) with the altitude of the GRACE satellite is lowered from 480 km to 460 km in seven years, the 3D (three-dimension) position accuracy of GRACE satellite orbit is about 3∼4 cm based on long spans data; (2) the accelerometer data improves the 3D position accuracy of GRACE in about 1 cm; (3) the accuracy of zero-difference dynamic orbit is about 6 cm with the GPS satellite clock error products in 5 min sampling interval and can be raised to 4 cm, if the GPS satellite clock error products with 30 s sampling interval can be adopted. (4) the time-variable part of earth gravity field model improves the 3D position accuracy of GRACE in about 0.5∼1.5 cm. Based on this study, we quantitatively analyze the factors that affect precise orbit determination of LEO satellites. This study plays an important role to improve the accuracy of LEO satellites orbit determination.

Award Identifier / Grant number: 11573053

Award Identifier / Grant number: 11173049

Funding statement: This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 11573053, 11173049) and Science and Technology Innovation Fund of First Crust Monitoring and Application Center, China Earthquake Administration (Grant No. FMC2018003).


We are grateful to GFZ, JPL and IGS, which providing the GRACE observation, the precise orbits of GRACE and the GPS satellites. Additionally, the authors extend great appreciation to the editors and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions that helped to enhance the original manuscript.


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Received: 2018-01-31
Accepted: 2018-04-15
Published Online: 2018-05-04
Published in Print: 2018-07-26

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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