Determination of precise Galileo orbits using combined GNSS and SLR observations

Grzegorz Bury, Krzysztof Sośnica, Radosław Zajdel, Dariusz Strugarek, Urs Hugentobler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Galileo satellites are equipped with laser retroreflector arrays for satellite laser ranging (SLR). In this study, we develop a methodology for the GNSS-SLR combination at the normal equation level with three different weighting strategies and evaluate the impact of laser observations on the determined Galileo orbits. We provide the optimum weighting scheme for precise orbit determination employing the co-location onboard Galileo. The combined GNSS-SLR solution diminishes the semimajor axis formal error by up to 62%, as well as reduces the dependency between values of formal errors and the elevation of the Sun above the orbital plane—the β angle. In the combined solution, the standard deviation of the SLR residuals decreases from 36.1 to 29.6 mm for Galileo-IOV satellites and |β|> 60°, when compared to GNSS-only solutions. Moreover, the bias of the Length-of-Day parameter is 20% lower for the combined solution when compared to the microwave one. As a result, the combination of GNSS and SLR observations provides promising results for future co-locations onboard the Galileo satellites for the orbit determination, realization of the terrestrial reference frames, and deriving geodetic parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalGPS Solutions
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Co-location
  • GNSS
  • Galileo
  • Precise orbit determination
  • SLR


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