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CODE’s five-system orbit and clock solution—the challenges of multi-GNSS data analysis


This article describes the processing strategy and the validation results of CODE’s MGEX (COM) orbit and satellite clock solution, including the satellite systems GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, and QZSS. The validation with orbit misclosures and SLR residuals shows that the orbits of the new systems Galileo, BeiDou, and QZSS are affected by modelling deficiencies with impact on the orbit scale (e.g., antenna calibration, Earth albedo, and transmitter antenna thrust). Another weakness is the attitude and solar radiation pressure (SRP) modelling of satellites moving in the orbit normal mode—which is not yet correctly considered in the COM solution. Due to these issues, we consider the current state COM solution as preliminary. We, however, use the long-time series of COM products for identifying the challenges and for the assessment of model-improvements. The latter is demonstrated on the example of the solar radiation pressure (SRP) model, which has been replaced by a more generalized model. The SLR validation shows that the new SRP model significantly improves the orbit determination of Galileo and QZSS satellites at times when the satellite’s attitude is maintained by yaw-steering. The impact of this orbit improvement is also visible in the estimated satellite clocks—demonstrating the potential use of the new generation satellite clocks for orbit validation. Finally, we point out further challenges and open issues affecting multi-GNSS data processing that deserves dedicated studies.

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We thank all institutions providing and distributing raw data of MGEX stations. We thank the ILRS for providing SLR measurements to a variety of GNSS satellites which are valuable for an independent orbit validation.

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Correspondence to Lars Prange.

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Prange, L., Orliac, E., Dach, R. et al. CODE’s five-system orbit and clock solution—the challenges of multi-GNSS data analysis. J Geod 91, 345–360 (2017).

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  • IGS
  • CODE
  • Multi-GNSS
  • ECOM
  • Solar radiation pressure model
  • Orbit determination
  • Satellite clock