Validation of Galileo orbits using SLR with a focus on satellites launched into incorrect orbital planes

Sośnica, K.; Prange, Lars; Kaźmierski, Kamil; Bury, Grzegorz; Droźdźewski, Mateusz; Zajdel, Radosław; Hadas, Tomasz (2018). Validation of Galileo orbits using SLR with a focus on satellites launched into incorrect orbital planes. Journal of geodesy, 92(2), pp. 131-148. Springer 10.1007/s00190-017-1050-x

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The space segment of the European Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Galileo consists of In-Orbit Validation (IOV) and Full Operational Capability (FOC) spacecraft. The first pair of FOC satellites was launched into an incorrect, highly eccentric orbital plane with a lower than nominal inclination angle. All Galileo satellites are equipped with satellite laser ranging (SLR) retroreflectors which allow, for example, for the assessment of the orbit quality or for the SLR–GNSS co-location in space. The number of SLR observations to Galileo satellites has been continuously increasing thanks to a series of intensive campaigns devoted to SLR tracking of GNSS satellites initiated by the International Laser Ranging Service. This paper assesses systematic effects and quality of Galileo orbits using SLR data with a main focus on Galileo satellites launched into incorrect orbits. We compare the SLR observations with respect to microwave-based Galileo orbits generated by the Center for Orbit Determination in Europe (CODE) in the framework of the International GNSS Service Multi-GNSS Experiment for the period 2014.0–2016.5. We analyze the SLR signature effect, which is characterized by the dependency of SLR residuals with respect to various incidence angles of laser beams for stations equipped with single-photon and multi-photon detectors. Surprisingly, the CODE orbit quality of satellites in the incorrect orbital planes is not worse than that of nominal FOC and IOV orbits. The RMS of SLR residuals is even lower by 5.0 and 1.5 mm for satellites in the incorrect orbital planes than for FOC and IOV satellites, respectively. The mean SLR offsets equal −44.9,−35.0, and −22.4 mm for IOV, FOC, and satellites in the incorrect orbital plane. Finally, we found that the empirical orbit models, which were originally designed for precise orbit determination of GNSS satellites in circular orbits, provide fully appropriate results also for highly eccentric orbits with variable linear and angular velocities.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Astronomy

UniBE Contributor:

Prange, Lars

Subjects:

500 Science > 520 Astronomy

ISSN:

0949-7714

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Pierre Fridez

Date Deposited:

27 Nov 2017 15:44

Last Modified:

27 Oct 2019 11:56

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s00190-017-1050-x

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.102437

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/102437

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