Kinematic orbit determination of low Earth orbiting satellites, using satellite-to-satellite tracking data and comparison of results with different propagators

University essay from KTH/Geodesi och geoinformatik

Author: Muhammad Zaheer; [2014]

Keywords: GPS; HPOP; Orbit Determination; STK; SGP4;


GPS data from Challenging Mini-satellite Payload (CHAMP) is used for its orbit determination for the epoch day of January 1st 2002.  The orbit of CHAMP is computed from the GPS data and ionospheric effects are removed by frequency combination.

Further, the orbits of CHAMP for the same epoch day are computed using the satellite tool kit (STK) employing simplified general perturbations (SGP4) and a high precision orbit propagator (HPOP).

Furthermore, orbits computed using GPS data are also compared with jet propulsion laboratory’s published CHAMP spacecraft orbit and we have found that root mean square difference in ECEF position X component is below 0.01km other than some spikes at poles. The standard deviation of the difference in ECEF position X coordinate (JPL results – GPS computed results) is 11.7m. Since JPL computed orbits are considered as true orbits of CHAMP with accuracy of centimeter level ( Therefore this difference can also be referred as observed error in GPS computed orbits. Considering above discussion, we can expect that accuracy of our computed satellite positions (using GPS data) is about 12 metres for other than poles area. However there are some occasional spikes, especially at poles, having maximum errors (about 0.055 km).

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