Space-geodetic Techniques

Satellite missions for Earth observation rely on the detailed characterization and determination of all sensor attributes. Only based on a consequent sensor characterization and the consideration of special sensor attributes for data analysis the full potential of precise measurement parameters can be achieved.

Research on space-geodetic techniques – at IfE this includes

  • GNSS tracking of satellite-based receivers,
  • Satellite-to-satellite tracking with microwaves and laser interferometry,
  • Satellite-based accelerometer,
  • Satellite-based star cameras and angular rate sensors,
  • Quantum accelerometer and ultra precise atomic clocks, as well as
  • Multi-sensor systems and multi-satellite configurations

on satellite missions like GRACE, GOCE, Swarm, GRACE Follow-On by NASA and ESA.


The data produced during these missions provide a backbone for geodesy and Earth observation. The thorough understanding of data quality, their calibration as well as the application of necessary reductions is of utmost importance for many users. This requires the detailed characterization of sensor time series and noise sources, the understanding of interactions between sensor technology and environmental conditions in the orbit as well as the improvement of mathematic sensor modelling and the evaluation algorithms are necessary. Space-geodetic techniques are closely connected with satellite gravimetry.

Time series of calibrated sensor data of the Swarm mission

The data sets consist of

  • Calibrated, corrected accelerometer data (ACCCCAL_2)
  • Metadata about corrected disturbances (ACCCDISi2_)
  • Validation reports (ACCCVAL_2)

IfE computes for the ESA project Swarm Data, Science and Innovation Cluster (DISC) corrected measurement time series for the Swarm accelerometer.

More information is available in the section Services.