Impact of Earth radiation pressure on GPS position estimates

C. J. Rodriguez-Solano, U. Hugentobler, P. Steigenberger, S. Lutz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations

Abstract

GPS satellite orbits available from the International GNSS Service (IGS) show a consistent radial bias of up to several cm and a particular pattern in the Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) residuals, which are suggested to be related to radiation pressure mismodeling. In addition, orbit-related frequencies were identified in geodetic time series such as apparent geocenter motion and station displacements derived from GPS tracking data. A potential solution to these discrepancies is the inclusion of Earth radiation pressure (visible and infrared) modeling in the orbit determination process. This is currently not yet considered by all analysis centers contributing to the IGS final orbits. The acceleration, accounting for Earth radiation and satellite models, is introduced in this paper in the computation of a global GPS network (around 200 IGS sites) adopting the analysis strategies from the Center for Orbit Determination in Europe (CODE). Two solutions covering 9 years (2000-2008) with and without Earth radiation pressure were computed and form the basis for this study. In previous studies, it has been shown that Earth radiation pressure has a non-negligible effect on the GPS orbits, mainly in the radial component. In this paper, the effect on the along-track and cross-track components is studied in more detail. Also in this paper, it is shown that Earth radiation pressure leads to a change in the estimates of GPS ground station positions, which is systematic over large regions of the Earth. This observed "deformation" of the Earth is towards North-South and with large scale patterns that repeat six times per GPS draconitic year (350 days), reaching a magnitude of up to 1 mm. The impact of Earth radiation pressure on the geocenter and length of day estimates was also investigated, but the effect is found to be less significant as compared to the orbits and position estimates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-317
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geodesy
Volume86
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012

Keywords

  • Albedo
  • GPS
  • Precise orbit modeling
  • Spectra of GPS position estimates

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