Magnetic torquer induced disturbing signals within GRACE accelerometer data

authored by
Nadja Peterseim, Jakob Flury, Anja Schlicht

The GRACE (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment) gravity field satellite mission was launched in 2002. Although many investigations have been carried out, not all disturbances and perturbations upon satellite instruments and sensors are resolved yet. In this work the issue of acceleration disturbances onboard of GRACE due to magnetic torquers is investigated and discussed. Each of the GRACE satellites is equipped with a three-axes capacitive accelerometer to measure non-gravitational forces acting on the spacecraft. We used 10 Hz Level 1a raw accelerometer data in order to determine the impact of electric current changes on the accelerometer. After reducing signals which are induced by highly dominating processes in the low frequency range, such as thermospheric drag and solar radiation pressure, which can easily be done by applying a high-pass filter, disturbing signals from onboard instruments such as thruster firing events or heater switch events need to be removed from the previously filtered data. Afterwards the spikes which are induced by the torquers can be very well observed. Spikes vary in amplitude with respect to an increasing or decreasing current used for magnetic torquers, and can be as large as 20 nm/s 2 . Furthermore, we were able to set up a model for the spikes of each scenario with which we were able to compute model spike time series. With these time series the spikes can successfully be removed from the 10 Hz raw accelerometer data. Spectral analysis of the time series reveal that an influence onto gravity field determination due to these effects is very unlikely, but can theoretically not be excluded.

Institute of Geodesy
External Organisation(s)
Technical University of Munich (TUM)
Advances in space research
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Aerospace Engineering, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Geophysics, Atmospheric Science, Space and Planetary Science, Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
Electronic version(s) (Access: Closed)

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