Celestial mechanics

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 317–338

A precise multipass method for satellite Doppler positioning


  • K. Aksnes
    • Mathematics SectionNorwegian Defence Research Establishment
    • Institute for Mathematical and Physical SciencesUniversity of Tromsø
  • P. H. Andersen
    • Mathematics SectionNorwegian Defence Research Establishment
  • E. Haugen
    • Norwegian Space Centre

DOI: 10.1007/BF01234271

Cite this article as:
Aksnes, K., Andersen, P.H. & Haugen, E. Celestial Mechanics (1988) 44: 317. doi:10.1007/BF01234271


A precise and efficient algorithm is developed for determining the locations of radio beacons (e.g. of the ARGOS or COSPAS/SARSAT type) based on Doppler shift measurements in overflying satellites. The method distinguishes itself through: (1) the use of a very compact analytic orbital theory valid for all eccentricities, (2) autonomous orbit improvement based on Doppler data for one or more local reference beacons accessible at a single LUT, (3) simultaneous orbit improvement and calculation of beacon coordinates for an arbitrary number of satellites, satellite passes, and beacons, and (4) very efficient semi-analytic matrix inversion by partitioning into global, semi-global, and local parameters.

The algorithm has been implemented in a FORTRAN program which can be run on a PC. Error statistics are presented from applications of the program to a large number of actual Doppler curves obtained with the ARGOS and COSPAS/SARSAT systems.

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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988