Covariance Propagation of Latitude-Dependent Orbit Errors Within the Energy Integral Approach
The satellite mission GOCE (Gravity and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer) has the demanding task to map the Earth’s gravity field with unprecedented accuracy by using state-of-the-art observation technologies. The processing strategy of the orbit data is based on the energy integral approach to determine the long wavelength structure of the gravity field. The final product will consist of the gravity field model in terms of estimated spherical harmonic coefficients and the corresponding error description. The study about covariance propagation of latitude-dependent orbit errors is driven by the fact that the GPS receiver used for GOCE might not have full performance in the case of low-elevation GPS satellites, which might lead to a reduced number of observable satellites in higher latitudes. Therefore, the adjustment procedure is extended by a covariance propagation taking this fact into account. The studies have shown that the consistent error propagation can not significantly improve the coefficient solution itself but it rather provides a correct error description of the result.
KeywordsGravity field recovery GOCE Energy integral approach Covariance propagation
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