A performance analysis of multi-satellite joint geolocation

  • Ding Wang
  • Shuai Wei
  • Ying Wu


Determining the position of an emitter on Earth by using a satellite cluster has many important applications, such as in navigation, surveillance, and remote sensing. However, in realistic situations, a number of factors, such as errors in the measurement of signal parameters, uncertainties regarding the position of satellites, and errors in the location of calibration sources, are known to degrade the accuracy of target localization in satellite geolocation systems. We systematically analyze the performance of multi-satellite joint geolocation based on time difference of arrival (TDOA) measurements. The theoretical analysis starts with Cramér–Rao bound (CRB) derivations for four localization scenarios under an altitude constraint and Gaussian noise assumption. In scenario 1, only the TDOA measurement errors of the emitting source are considered and the satellite positions are assumed to be perfectly estimated. In scenario 2, both the TDOA measurement errors and satellite position uncertainties are taken into account. Scenario 3 assumes that some calibration sources with accurate position information are used to mitigate the influence of satellite position perturbations. In scenario 4, several calibration sources at inaccurate locations are used to alleviate satellite position errors in target localization. Through comparing the CRBs of the four localization scenarios, some valuable’s insights are gained into the effects of various error sources on the estimation performance. Two kinds of location mean-square errors (MSE) expressions under the altitude constraint are derived through first-order perturbation analysis and the Lagrange method. The first location MSE provides the theoretical prediction when an estimator assumes that the satellite locations are accurate but in fact have errors. The second location MSE provides the localization accuracy if an estimator assumes that the known calibration source locations are precise while in fact erroneous. Simulation results are included to verify the theoretical analysis.

Key words

Satellite geolocation Time difference of arrival (TDOA) Cramér–Rao bound (CRB) Calibration sources Performance analysis 

CLC number



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Copyright information

© Journal of Zhejiang University Science Editorial Office and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Digital Switching System Engineering & Technological Research CenterZhengzhouChina
  2. 2.Zhengzhou Information Science and Technology InstituteZhengzhouChina

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