Improving solar radiation pressure modeling for GLONASS satellites

Bingbing Duan, Urs Hugentobler, Max Hofacker, Inga Selmke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The Russian Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) satellites have a stretched body shape and take a specific attitude mode inside the eclipse. Based on previous studies, the new Empirical CODE orbit model (ECOM2) performs better than the classical ECOM model if a satellite has elongated shape or does not maintain yaw-steering mode, and the use of an a priori box-wing (BW) model improves the orbits significantly when employing the ECOM model. However, we find that the ECOM model performs better than the ECOM2 model for GLONASS satellites outside eclipse seasons, while it performs two times worse in eclipse seasons. The use of the conventional box-wing model results in very little improvement. By assessing the ECOM Y estimates, we conclude that there are potential radiators on the - x surface of GLONASS satellites causing orbit perturbations also inside the eclipse. The higher-order Fourier terms of the ECOM2 model can compensate for such effects better than the ECOM model. Based on this finding, we first confirm that GLONASS-K satellites take a similar attitude mode as GLONASS-M satellites inside the eclipse. Then, we adjust optical parameters of GLONASS satellites as part of precise orbit determination (POD) considering the potential radiator and thermal radiation effects. Finally, the adjusted parameters are introduced into a new box-wing model and jointly used with the ECOM and ECOM2 model, respectively. Results show that the amplitude and the dependency of the empirical parameters on the β angle are greatly reduced for both ECOM and ECOM2 models. Rather than the conventional box-wing model, the new box-wing model reduces the orbit misclosure between two consecutive arcs for both GLONASS-M and GLONASS-K satellites. In particular, the improvement in GLONASS-M satellites is more than 30% for the ECOM model during eclipse seasons. Further evaluation from 24-h predicted orbits demonstrates that the improvement during eclipse seasons is mainly in along- and cross-track directions. Finally, we validate GLONASS satellite orbits using Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) observations. The use of the new box-wing model reduces the spurious pattern of the SLR residuals as a function of β and Δ u significantly, and the linear dependency of the SLR residuals on the elongation drops from as large as - 0.760 mm/deg to almost zero for both ECOM and ECOM2 models. In general, GLONASS-M satellites benefit more from the new a priori box-wing model and the BW+ECOM model results in the best SLR residuals, with an improvement of about 50% and 20%, respectively, for the mean and standard deviation (STD) values with respect to the orbit products without a priori model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number72
JournalJournal of Geodesy
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Box-wing
  • Eclipse
  • Radiator
  • Solar radiation pressure


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