Precision orbit computations for Starlette
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The Starlette satellite, launched in February 1975 by the French Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, was designed to minimize the effects of non-gravitational forces and to obtain the highest possible accuracy for laser range measurements. Analyses of the first four months of laser tracking data from nine stations. have confirmed the stability of the orbit and the precision to which the satellite’s position can be established.
Initial orbit computations using the GSFC GEM-7 gravity model produced rms fits of about 8 to 10 meters for arc lengths of 5 days. After tailoring a gravity model specifically to Starlette, the rms fits for the 5 day arcs were reduced significantly to the 1 to 2 meter level. An rms fit of 4.3 meters was obtained for a 90 day arc. Five day arcs overlapped by 2.5 days showed rms satellite position differences generally less than 2 meters. Prediction errors at the end of two months were less than 30 milliseconds.
KeywordsGravity Model Solar Radiation Pressure Range Bias Laser Data Goddard Space Flight Center
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