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Short-arc analysis of intersatellite tracking data in a gravity mapping mission

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 A technique for the analysis of low–low intersatellite range-rate data in a gravity mapping mission is explored. The technique is based on standard tracking data analysis for orbit determination but uses a spherical coordinate representation of the 12 epoch state parameters describing the baseline between the two satellites. This representation of the state parameters is exploited to allow the intersatellite range-rate analysis to benefit from information provided by other tracking data types without large simultaneous multiple-data-type solutions. The technique appears especially valuable for estimating gravity from short arcs (e.g. less than 15 minutes) of data. Gravity recovery simulations which use short arcs are compared with those using arcs a day in length. For a high-inclination orbit, the short-arc analysis recovers low-order gravity coefficients remarkably well, although higher-order terms, especially sectorial terms, are less accurate. Simulations suggest that either long or short arcs of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data are likely to improve parts of the geopotential spectrum by orders of magnitude.

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Received: 26 June 2001 / Accepted: 21 January 2002

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Rowlands, D., Ray, R., Chinn, D. et al. Short-arc analysis of intersatellite tracking data in a gravity mapping mission. Journal of Geodesy 76, 307–316 (2002).

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