Journal of Geodesy

, Volume 93, Issue 6, pp 791–807 | Cite as

Empirically derived model of solar radiation pressure for BeiDou GEO satellites

  • Chen Wang
  • Jing GuoEmail author
  • Qile Zhao
  • Jingnan Liu
Original Article


A key limitation in the precise orbit determination (POD) of BeiDou geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) satellites is the relatively static observation geometry, which results in strong correlations between orbital elements, solar radiation pressure (SRP) parameters, and ambiguities. Satellite laser ranging (SLR) residuals of BeiDou G01 satellite orbits display a clear dependence on the Sun elongation angle ε, as well as a bias of approximately − 40 cm. These indicate the low performance of BeiDou GEO orbits. In this study, we confirmed that the perturbation caused by the communication antenna generates the ε-angle-dependent variation and the bias of approximately − 14.9 cm in BeiDou G01 SLR residuals. Besides, the orbit-normal (ON) attitude mode used by BeiDou GEO satellites as well as an orbital inclination of nearly 0° results in strong linear correlations between the POD estimated parameters, i.e., satellite’s initial position on the Z-axis and the constant Y-bias along the cross-track direction. Hence, the solar pressure models, such as Extended CODE Orbit Model (ECOM) in ON mode, with the Y-axis along the cross-track direction are deficient for SRP estimation of BeiDou GEO satellites. In this study, an empirical a priori SRP model was established for BeiDou GEO satellites to enhance the ECOM using an empirical fitting approach. This proposed model is expressed in DYB frame using eight parameters. With this model, precise BeiDou GEO orbits in 2016 were determined. SLR validation indicated that the systematic ε-angle-dependent error was reduced and the large negative bias almost vanished. In general, better than 10-cm root-mean-square of SLR validation was achieved, and also an improvement of 4–5 times over the five-parameter ECOM model was obtained.


BeiDou Solar radiation pressure Precise orbit determination GNSS 



Adjustable box-wing


BeiDou Experimental Tracking Network


Communication antenna


Center for Orbit Determination in Europe


Extended CODE Orbit Model


ECOM for orbit-normal mode


ECOM for yaw-steering mode


Geostationary Earth orbit


Global Navigation Satellite System


Inclined geosynchronous orbit


Laser retroreflector array


Medium Earth orbit


Multi-GNSS Experiment


Orbit boundary discontinuity


Orbit-normal mode


Precise orbit determination


Radio determination satellite service


Radio navigation satellite service


Satellite Laser Ranging


Solar radiation pressure


Solar panel


Yaw steering mode



The IGS MGEX, iGMAS, and ILRS are greatly acknowledged for providing the Multi-GNSS and SLR tracking data. The research is partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41504009, 41574030). Finally, the authors are also grateful for the comments and remarks of three reviewers and editor, which helped to significantly improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GNSS Research CenterWuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Center of Geospatial TechnologyWuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  3. 3.School of EngineeringNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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