GPS Solutions

, 22:4 | Cite as

Precise orbit and clock determination for BeiDou-3 experimental satellites with yaw attitude analysis

  • Qile Zhao
  • Chen Wang
  • Jing Guo
  • Bin Wang
  • Jingnan Liu
GNSS In Progress


Five new-generation BeiDou-3 experimental satellites, called BeiDou-3e, have been launched into inclined geosynchronous orbit (IGSO) and medium orbit (MEO) since March 2015. In addition to newly designed signals and intersatellite links, different satellite buses, updated rubidium atomic frequency standards (RAFSs), and new passive hydrogen masers (PHMs) have been used. Using 15 stations, mainly in the Asia–Pacific region, we determined orbits and clock for both the BeiDou-3e and the regional BeiDou-2 satellites using the Extend CODE (Center for Orbit Determination in Europe) Orbit Model (ECOM). The orbit consistency, indicated by 3D orbit boundary discontinuity, is 50–70 and 40–60 cm for BeiDou-3e IGSO and MEO satellites, respectively, and better than 15 cm in radial component. Satellite laser ranging (SLR) validation gives about 17 and 10 cm for BeiDou-3e IGSO and MEO satellites. The BeiDou-3e satellites orbits show slightly better performance than the BeiDou-2 satellites as indicated by SLR. However, errors depending on the sun elongation angle were identified in SLR residuals for the BeiDou-3e IGSO C32 satellite, while such errors did not exist for BeiDou-2 IGSO/MEO and BeiDou-3e MEO satellites. No orbit accuracy degeneration for BeiDou-3e IGSO and MEO satellites was observed when the elevation angle (β angle) of the sun above the orbital plane was between − 4° and + 4°. In that case, the BeiDou-2 IGSO and MEO satellites are in orbit normal (ON) mode. An analysis of the yaw attitude identified that BeiDou-3e satellites did not use the ON mode, but experienced midnight- and noon-point maneuvers when the β angle is approximately between − 3° and + 3°. Compared with BeiDou-2 satellites, the onboard clocks of the BeiDou-3e IGSO satellites showed dramatic improved performance. The stability of BeiDou-3e IGSO satellites can be compared to the latest type of RAFSs employed onboard the GPS IIF satellites as well as the PHMs used onboard the Galileo satellites.


BeiDou-3 Precise orbit determination Clock analysis Passive hydrogen masers Yaw attitude 



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 two reviewers and editor, which helped to significantly improve the manuscript.


  1. Beutler G, Brockmann E, Gurtner W, Hugentobler U, Mervart L, Rothacher M (1994) Extended orbit modeling techniques at the CODE processing center of the International GPS Service for Geodynamics (IGS): theory and initial results. Manuscr Geod 19(6):367–386Google Scholar
  2. CSNO (2016) BeiDou Navigation Satellite System Signal In Space Interface Control Document Open Service Signal (Version 2.1). China Satellite Navigation OfficeGoogle Scholar
  3. CSNO (2017) BeiDou Navigation Satellite System Signal In Space Interface Control Document B1C and B2a Open Service Signal (Test version) (in Chiese). China Satellite Navigation OfficeGoogle Scholar
  4. Dilssner F, Springer T, Gienger G, Dow J (2011) The GLONASS-M satellite yaw-attitude model. Adv Space Res 47(1):160–171. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Feng W, Guo X, Qiu H, Zhang J, Dong K (2014) A study of analytical solar radiation pressure modeling for BeiDou navigation satellites based on raytracking method. In: Sun J, Jiao W, Wu H, Shi C (eds) Proceedings of china satellite navigation conference (CSNC) 2014. Vol. II. Lecture notes in electrical engineering 304:41–53. https:\\\
  6. Griffiths J, Ray J (2009) On the precision and accuracy of IGS orbits. J Geodesy 83(3–4):277–287. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Guo J (2014) The impacts of attitude, solar radiation and function model on precise orbit determination for GNSS satellites. Ph.D. Dissertation (in Chinese with English abstract), GNSS Research Center, Wuhan University, Wuhan, ChinaGoogle Scholar
  8. Guo J, Xu X, Zhao Q, Liu J (2015) Precise orbit determination for quad-constellation satellites at Wuhan University: strategy, result validation, and comparison. J Geodesy 90(2):143–159. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Guo J, Chen G, Zhao Q, Liu J, Liu X (2017a) Comparison of solar radiation pressure models for BDS IGSO and MEO satellites with emphasis on improving orbit quality. GPS Solut 21(2):511–522. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Guo F, Li X, Zhang X, Wang J (2017b) Assessment of precise orbit and clock products for Galileo, BeiDou, and QZSS from IGS Multi-GNSS Experiment (MGEX). GPS Solut 21(1):279–290. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kouba J (2004) Improved relativistic transformations in GPS. GPS Solut 8(3):170–180. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Liu J, Ge M (2003) PANDA software and its preliminary result of positioning and orbit determination. Wuhan Univ J Nat Sci 8(2B):603–609. Google Scholar
  13. Lou Y, Liu Y, Shi C, Yao X, Zheng F (2014) Precise orbit determination of beidou constellation based on bets and mgex network. Sci Rep 4(8):4692. Google Scholar
  14. Montenbruck O, Steigenberger P, Hugentobler U (2014) Enhanced solar radiation pressure modeling for Galileo satellites. J Geodesy 89(3):283–297. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Montenbruck O, Schmid R, Mercier F, Steigenberger P, Noll C, Fatkulin Kogure S, Ganeshan AS (2015) GNSS satellite geometry and attitude models. Adv Space Res 56(6):1015–1029. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Montenbruck O, Steigenberger P, Prange L, Deng Z, Zhao Q, Perosanz F, Romero I, Noll C, Stürze A, Weber G (2017) The Multi-GNSS Experiment (MGEX) of the International GNSS Service (IGS) – Achievements, prospects and challenges. Adv Space Res 59(7):1671–1697. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Pearlman MR, Degnan JJ, Bosworth JM (2002) The international laser ranging service. Adv Space Res 30(2):135–143. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Prange L, Orliac E, Dach R, Arnold D, Beutler G, Schaer S, Jäggi A (2016) CODE’s five-system orbit and clock solution—the challenges of multi-GNSS data analysis. J Geodesy 91(4):345–360. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Springer TA, Beutler G, Rothacher M (1999) A new solar radiation pressure model for GPS satellites. GPS Solut 3(2):50–62. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Steigenberger P, Hugentobler U, Hauschild A, Montenbruck O (2013) Orbit and clock analysis of compass GEO and IGSO satellites. J Geodesy 87(6):515–525. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Tan B, Yuan Y, Wen M, Ning Y, Liu X (2016) Initial results of the precise orbit determination for the new-generation Beidou satellites (Beidou-3) based on the iGMAS network. ISPRS Int J Geo Inf 5(11):196. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wang B, Lou Y, Liu J, Zhao Q, Su X (2016) Analysis of BDS satellite clocks in orbit. GPS Solut 20(4):783–794. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Yang D, Yang J, Li G, Zhou Y, Tang C (2017) Globalization highlight: orbit determination using BeiDou inter-satellite ranging measurements. GPS Solut. Google Scholar
  24. Zhang X, Wu M, Liu W, Li X, Yu S, Lu C, Wickert J (2017) Initial assessment of the COMPASS/BeiDou-3: new-generation navigation signals. J Geodesy. Google Scholar
  25. Zhao Q, Guo J, Li M, Qu L, Hu Z, Shi C, Liu J (2013) Initial results of precise orbit and clock determination for COMPASS navigation satellite system. J Geodesy 87(5):475–486. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

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
  4. 4.Shanghai Astronomical ObservatoryChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations