Surveying co-located space-geodetic instruments for ITRF computation
A new and comprehensive method is presented that can be used for estimating eccentricity vectors between global positioning system (GPS) antennas, doppler orbitography and radiopositioning integrated by satellites (DORIS) antennas, azimuth-elevation (AZ-EL) very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) telescopes, and satellite laser ranging (SLR) and lunar laser ranging (LLR) telescopes. The problem of reference point (RP) definition for these space-geodetic instruments is addressed and computed using terrestrial triangulation and electronic distance measurement (EDM) trilateration. The practical ground operations, the surveying approach and the terrestrial data processing are briefly illustrated, and the post-processing procedure is discussed. It is a geometrically based analytical approach that allows computation of RPs along with a rigorous statistical treatment of measurements. The tight connection between the geometrical model and the surveying procedure is emphasized. The computation of the eccentricity vector and the associated variance–covariance matrix between an AZ-EL VLBI telescope (with or without intersecting axes) and a GPS choke ring antenna is concentrated upon, since these are fundamental for computing the International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF). An extension to RP computation and eccentricity vectors involving DORIS, SLR and LLR techniques is also presented. Numerical examples of the quality that can be reached using the authors’ approach are given. Working data sets were acquired in the years 2001 and 2002 at the radioastronomical observatory of Medicina (Italy), and have been used to estimate two VLBI-GPS eccentricity vectors and the corresponding SINEX files.
Key wordsInternational Terrestrial Reference Frame Local ties Reference points Space geodesy Classical geodesy
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