Journal of Geodesy

, Volume 92, Issue 9, pp 1047–1061 | Cite as

Consistent realization of Celestial and Terrestrial Reference Frames

  • Younghee KwakEmail author
  • Mathis Bloßfeld
  • Ralf Schmid
  • Detlef Angermann
  • Michael Gerstl
  • Manuela Seitz
Original Article


The Celestial Reference System (CRS) is currently realized only by Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) because it is the space geodetic technique that enables observations in that frame. In contrast, the Terrestrial Reference System (TRS) is realized by means of the combination of four space geodetic techniques: Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), VLBI, Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR), and Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite. The Earth orientation parameters (EOP) are the link between the two types of systems, CRS and TRS. The EOP series of the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service were combined of specifically selected series from various analysis centers. Other EOP series were generated by a simultaneous estimation together with the TRF while the CRF was fixed. Those computation approaches entail inherent inconsistencies between TRF, EOP, and CRF, also because the input data sets are different. A combined normal equation (NEQ) system, which consists of all the parameters, i.e., TRF, EOP, and CRF, would overcome such an inconsistency. In this paper, we simultaneously estimate TRF, EOP, and CRF from an inter-technique combined NEQ using the latest GNSS, VLBI, and SLR data (2005–2015). The results show that the selection of local ties is most critical to the TRF. The combination of pole coordinates is beneficial for the CRF, whereas the combination of \(\varDelta \hbox {UT1}\) results in clear rotations of the estimated CRF. However, the standard deviations of the EOP and the CRF improve by the inter-technique combination which indicates the benefits of a common estimation of all parameters. It became evident that the common determination of TRF, EOP, and CRF systematically influences future ICRF computations at the level of several \(\upmu \)as. Moreover, the CRF is influenced by up to \(50~\upmu \)as if the station coordinates and EOP are dominated by the satellite techniques.


Celestial Reference Frame Terrestrial Reference Frame ICRF ITRF Inter-technique combination VLBI SLR GNSS EOP 



We thank the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. This study was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the Research Unit “Space-Time Reference Systems for Monitoring Global Change and for Precise Navigation in Space” (FOR 1503). This study made use of GNSS analysis solutions provided by the Center for Orbit Determination in Europe (CODE; Steigenberger et al. 2014).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Deutsches Geodätisches Forschungsinstitut at the Technische Universität München (DGFI-TUM)MunichGermany

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