TOPEX/Poseidon orbit error assessment
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This paper discusses the accuracy of TOPEX/Poseidon orbits computed at Delft University, Section Space Research & Technology (DUT/SSR&T), from several types of tracking data,i.e. SLR, DORIS, and GPS. To quantify the orbit error, three schemes are presented. The first scheme relies on the direct altimeter observations and the covariance of the JGM-2 gravity field. The second scheme is based on crossover difference residuals while the third scheme uses the differences of dynamic orbit solutions with the GPS reduced-dynamic orbit. All three schemes give comparable results and indicate that the radial orbit error of TOPEX/Poseidon is 3–4 cm. From the orbit comparisons with GPS reduced dynamic, both the along-track and cross-track errors of the dynamic orbit solutions were found to be within 10–15 cm.
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