A parametric study on the impact of satellite attitude errors on GOCE gravity field recovery
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In the recent design of the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite mission, the gravity gradients are defined in the gradiometer reference frame (GRF), which deviates from the actual flight direction (local orbit reference frame, LORF) by up to 3–4°. The main objective of this paper is to investigate the effect of uncertainties in the knowledge of the gradiometer orientation due to attitude reconstitution errors on the gravity field solution. In the framework of several numerical simulations, which are based on a realistic mission configuration, different scenarios are investigated, to provide the accuracy requirements of the orientation information. It turns out that orientation errors have to be seriously considered, because they may represent a significant error component of the gravity field solution. While in a realistic mission scenario (colored gradiometer noise) the gravity field solutions are quite insensitive to small orientation biases, random noise applied to the attitude information can have a considerable impact on the accuracy of the resolved gravity field models.
KeywordsGOCE Global gravity field modeling Gradiometer reference frame Satellite gravity gradients Quick-look gravity field analysis Star tracker
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