Atmospheric density determination using high-accuracy satellite GPS data
- 6 Downloads
Atmospheric drag is the main source of error in the determination and prediction of the orbit of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites; however, empirical models that are used to account for this often have density errors of around 15%–30%. Atmospheric density determination has thus become an important topic for researchers. Based on the relationship between the atmospheric drag force and the decay of the semi-major axis of the orbit, we derived atmospheric density along the trajectory of challenging mini-satellite payload (CHAMP) satellite with its rapid science orbit (RSO) data. Three primary parameters—the ratio of cross-sectional area to mass, the drag coefficient, and the decay of the semi-major axis caused by atmospheric drag—were calculated. We also analyse the source of the error and made a comparison between the GPS-derived and reference density. The result for December 2, 2008, showed that the mean error of the GPS-derived density could be decreased from 29.21% to 9.20%, if the time span adopted for the process of computation was increased from 10 min to 50 min. The result for the entire month of December indicated that a density precision of 10% could be achieved, when the time span meets the condition that the amplitude of the decay of the semi-major axis is much greater than its standard deviation.
Keywordsatmospheric density determination high-accuracy GPS data drag coefficient orbit decay
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Jacchia L. New Static Models of the Thermosphere and Exosphere with Empirical Temperature Profiles. SAO Special Report #313, 1970Google Scholar
- 6.King-Hele D G. Methods of determining air density from satellite orbits. Ann Geophys, 1966, 22: 40–52Google Scholar
- 8.Bowman B R, Marcos F A, Kendra M J. A method for computing accurate daily atmospheric density values from satellite drag data. In: Space Flight Mechanics Meeting. Maui, 2004Google Scholar
- 9.Hoots F R, Roehrich R L. Models for Propagation of NORAD Element Sets. Spacetrack Report 3, Alexandria, 1988Google Scholar
- 12.Cefola P J, Proulx R J, Nazarenko A I, et al. Atmospheric density correction using two line element sets as the observation data. Adv Astronaut Sci, 2003, 116: 1953–1978Google Scholar
- 19.Moe M M, Wallace S D, Moe K. Recommended drag coefficients for aeronomic satellites. Geophys Monogr Ser, 1995, 87: 349–356Google Scholar
- 20.Bowman B R. True satellite ballistic coefficient determination for HASDM. In: AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference and Exhibit. Monterey, 2002, 774–793Google Scholar
- 22.Maley P D, Moore R G, King D J. Starshine: A student tracked atmospheric research satellite deployed from the space shuttle, IAF-99-P.1.01. In: Proceeding of the 50th International Astronautical Federation Congress. Amsterdam, 1999Google Scholar
- 23.Bowman B R, Moe K. Drag coefficient variability at 175–500 km from the orbit decay analysis of spheres, AAS 2005–257. In: AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference. Lake Tahoe, 2005Google Scholar
- 24.Ren T, Miao J, Liu S, et al. Research on thermospheric densities derived from two-line element sets (in Chinese). Chin J Space Sci, 2014, 34: 426–433Google Scholar
- 25.Bettadpur S. GRACE Product Specification Document, Rev 4.2. Technical Report. Austin: Centre for Space Research, The University of Texas at Austin, 2004Google Scholar