PPP-based Swarm kinematic orbit determination

authored by
Le Ren, Steffen Schön

The Swarm mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) offers excellent opportunities to study the ionosphere and to provide temporal gravity field information for the gap between the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and its follow-on mission (GRACE-FO). In order to contribute to these studies, at the Institut für Erdmessung (IfE) Hannover, a software based on precise point positioning (PPP) batch least-squares adjustment is developed for kinematic orbit determination. In this paper, the main achievements are presented. The approach for the detection and repair of cycle slips caused by ionospheric scintillation is introduced, which is based on the Melbourne-Wübbena and ionosphere-free linear combination. The results show that around 95% of cycle slips can be repaired and the majority of the cycle slips occur on L/2. After the analysis and careful preprocessing of the observations, 1-year kinematic orbits of Swarm satellites from September 2015 to August 2016 are computed with the PPP approach. The kinematic orbits are validated with the reduced-dynamic orbits published by the ESA in the Swarm Level 2 products and SLR measurements. The differences between IfE kinematic orbits and ESA reduced-dynamic orbits are at the 1.5, 1.5 and 2.5 cm level in the along-track, cross-track and radial directions, respectively. Remaining systematics are characterized by spectral analyses, showing once-per-revolution period. The external validation with SLR measurements shows RMSEs at the 4 cm level. Finally, fully populated covariance matrices of the kinematic orbits obtained from the least-squares adjustment with 30, 10 and 1 s data rate are discussed. It is shown that for data rates larger than 10 s, the correlation between satellite positions should be taken into account, for example, for the recovery of gravity field from kinematic orbits.

Institute of Geodesy
Annales geophysicae
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Astronomy and Astrophysics, Geology, Atmospheric Science, Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous), Space and Planetary Science
Electronic version(s)
https://angeo.copernicus.org/preprints/angeo-2018-52/angeo-2018-52.pdf (Access: Open)
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-36-1227-2018 (Access: Open)

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