Gravity field determination from satellite gradiometry
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An orbiting gradiometer measures simultaneously several gravity quantities, ideally all six second-order derivatives of the gravitational potential. These contain information on the orbit, on the structure of the gravity field, and on the attitude of the space-craft. Due to the availability of several components simultaneously it is possible to separate orbit determination from attitude or gravity field recovery. This facilitates the analysis of the gradiometer measurements and allows the use of the principles of fast spherical harmonic analysis. The separation of gravity field recovery and orbit determination is tested numerically with a simplified gravity field (with a purely zonal spherical harmonic expansion) up to degree 300. For both the potential coefficients and for the orbit an almost exact recovery is attained after two iteration steps.
KeywordsGravity Field Actual Orbit Disturbing Potential Potential Coefficient Initial State Vector
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