Enhanced solar radiation pressure model for GPS satellites considering various physical effects

Bingbing Duan, Urs Hugentobler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Solar radiation pressure (SRP) is the dominant non-gravitational perturbation for GPS satellites. In the IGS (International GNSS Service), this perturbation is modeled differently by individual analysis centers (ACs). The two most widely used methods are the Empirical CODE orbit Model (ECOM, ECOM2) and the JPL GSPM model. When using ECOM models, a box-wing model or other a priori models, as well as stochastic pulses at noon or midnight, are optionally adopted by some ACs to compensate for the deficiencies of the ECOM or ECOM2 model. However, both box-wing and GSPM parameters were published many years ago. There could be an aging effect going with time. Also, optical properties and GSPM parameters of GPS Block IIF satellites are currently not yet published. In this contribution, we first determine Block-specific optical parameters of GPS satellites using GPS code and phase measurements of 6 years. Various physical effects, such as yaw bias, radiator emission in the satellite body-fixed − X and Y directions and the thermal radiation of solar panels, are considered as additional constant parameters in the optical parameter adjustment. With all the adjusted parameters, we form an enhanced box-wing model adding all the modeled physical effects. In addition, we determine Block-specific GSPM parameters by using the same GPS measurements. The enhanced box-wing model and the GSPM model are then taken as a priori model and are jointly used with ECOM and ECOM2 model, respectively. We find that the enhanced box-wing model performs similarly to the GSPM model outside eclipse seasons. RMSs of all the ECOM and ECOM2 parameters are reduced by 30% compared to results without the a priori model. Orbit misclosures and orbit predictions are improved by combining the enhanced box-wing model with ECOM and ECOM2 models. In particular, the improvement in orbit misclosures for the eclipsing Block IIR and IIF satellites, as well as the non-eclipsing IIA satellites, is about 25%, 10% and 10%, respectively, for the ECOM model. Therefore, the enhanced box-wing model is recommended as an a priori model in GPS satellite orbit determination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42
JournalGPS Solutions
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Enhanced box-wing model
  • GPS solar radiation pressure
  • GSPM
  • Radiator
  • Yaw bias


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