Journal of Geodesy

, Volume 83, Issue 5, pp 477–489 | Cite as

Precise orbit determination for the FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC satellite mission using GPS

  • Cheinway HwangEmail author
  • Tzu-Pang Tseng
  • Tingjung Lin
  • Dražen Švehla
  • Bill Schreiner
Original Article


The joint Taiwan–US mission FORMOSAT-3/ COSMIC (COSMIC) was launched on April 17, 2006. Each of the six satellites is equipped with two POD antennas. The orbits of the six satellites are determined from GPS data using zero-difference carrier-phase measurements by the reduced dynamic and kinematic methods. The effects of satellite center of mass (COM) variation, satellite attitude, GPS antenna phase center variation (PCV), and cable delay difference on the COSMIC orbit determination are studied. Nominal attitudes estimated from satellite state vectors deliver a better orbit accuracy when compared to observed attitude. Numerical tests show that the COSMIC COM must be precisely calibrated in order not to corrupt orbit determination. Based on the analyses of the 5 and 6-h orbit overlaps of two 30-h arcs, orbit accuracies from the reduced dynamic and kinematic solutions are nearly identical and are at the 2–3 cm level. The mean RMS difference between the orbits from this paper and those from UCAR (near real-time) and WHU (post-processed) is about 10 cm, which is largely due to different uses of GPS ephemerides, high-rate GPS clocks and force models. The kinematic orbits of COSMIC are expected to be used for recovery of temporal variations in the gravity field.


Attitude FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC GPS Kinematic orbit Reduced dynamic orbit 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cheinway Hwang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tzu-Pang Tseng
    • 1
  • Tingjung Lin
    • 1
  • Dražen Švehla
    • 2
  • Bill Schreiner
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringNational Chiao Tung UniversityHsinchuTaiwan
  2. 2.Institute of Astronomical and Physical GeodesyTechnische Universität MünchenMunichGermany
  3. 3.University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)BoulderUSA

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