Comparison of Thermospheric Parameters from Space- and Ground-Based Instruments

University essay from Luleå/Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering

Author: Patrik Kärräng; [2015]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: Thermospheric density and wind are important parameters to make accurate life-time estimates for satellites and space debris. More measurements and new methods of measuring can improve the current understanding and models of the thermosphere.
While in orbit a satellite experiences perturbations due to atmospheric density and wind. These perturbations may be measured by an accelerometer on-board and by fitting the modelled acceleration to the observed acceleration one can by an iterative method derive thermospheric density and wind. In this thesis accelerometer measurements from ESA’s GOCE mission have been used to determine the satellite cross-track wind and atmospheric density.
The purpose of the thesis is to compare the satellite crosswind data with ground-based measurements of thermospheric winds to try to determine the accuracy of the iterative method that is being used to derive the crosswind and, if possible, suggest improvements.
During the degree project measurements of thermospheric winds have been collected from two kinds of ground-based instruments in six locations. The data have been compared to the crosswind and the results have been analysed. The thesis also gives suggestions for future study.