GPS radio occultation constellation design with the optimal performance in Asia Pacific region
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- Asgarimehr, M. & Hossainali, M.M. J Geod (2015) 89: 519. doi:10.1007/s00190-015-0795-3
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The growing desire for better spatial and also temporal distribution of radio occultation data is a motivation for extensive researches considering either number of GNSS/receiver satellites or better optimization tools resulting in better distributions. This paper addresses the problem of designing a global positioning system-only radio occultation mission with the optimal performance in Asia Pacific region. Constellation Patterns are discussed and 2D-lattice and 3D-lattice flower constellations are adopted to develop a system with circular and elliptical orbits, respectively. A perturbed orbit propagation model leading to significantly more accurate pre-analysis is used. Emphasizing on the spatial and also temporal distribution of radio occultation events for the first time, distribution norm is provided as a volumetric distribution measure using Voronoi diagram concept in a 3D space consisting temporal and spatial intervals. Optimizations are performed using genetic algorithm to determine optimal constellation design parameters by the suitable fitness function and constraints devised. The resulted constellation has been evaluated by a regional comparison to the globally distributed FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC in terms of the distribution norm, number of radio occultation events and also coverage as an additional point-to-point distribution measure. Although it is demonstrated that the optimal 3D-lattice enjoys better performance than FORMOSAT-3, the design approach results in a 2D-lattice flower constellation which is superior to other constellations in regional emphasis of radio occultation events. Its global performance is discussed and it is demonstrated that using multi-GNSS receiver to increase satellites may not guarantee a good distribution of radio occultation data in some aspects.