GPS/INS Gravity Measurements in Space and on a Balloon

  • Christopher Jekeli
Conference paper
Part of the International Association of Geodesy Symposia book series (IAG SYMPOSIA, volume 110)


A comparison of using the Global Positioning System (GPS) in conjunction with a strapdown Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) to measure the gravity vector in space and on a balloon shows the relative importance of each system element in these two different acceleration environments. With currently available instrumentation, the acceleration measurement accuracy is the deciding factor in space, while on the balloon (or other aircraft), the orientation error of the IMU platform is most critical. A simulation shows that GPS-derived accelerations in space are accurate to better than 0.1 mgal for a 30 s integration time, leading to estimates of 1° mean gravity anomalies on the Earth’s surface with an accuracy of 4–5 mgal. On a balloon, the horizontal gravity estimation error is tightly coupled to the orientation error of the platform, which can only be bounded by external attitude updates. Horizontal gravity errors of 5 mgal are achievable if the attitude is maintained to an accuracy of 1 arcsec.


Global Position System Gravity Anomaly Inertial Measurement Unit Global Position System Receiver Orientation Error 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Babcock, G.D., S.A. Kazan, A.P. Truban, F. Vescial, and L. Trozpek: Phase I High- Accuracy Ring-Laser Gyro Inertial Navigation System Program, AFWAK-TR-86–1100, prepared for Avionics Laboratory, Air Force Wright Aeronautical Laboratory by Rockwell International Corporation, 1987.Google Scholar
  2. Carson, L.: Preliminary Experimental Performance of the TOPEX Global Positioning System Demonstration Receiver (GPSDR). In: Proceedings of the Second Symposium on GPS Applications in Space, C. Jekeli (ed.), Report GL-TR-90–0032, Volume II, Geophysics Laboratory, Hanscom AFB, Mass., 1990.Google Scholar
  3. de Boor, C.: A Practical Guide to Splines, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1978.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Eissfeller, B. and P. Spietz: Basic Filter Concepts for the Integration of GPS and an Inertial Ring Laser Gyro Strapdown System. Manus. Geodaetica,. 14,166–182, 1989.Google Scholar
  5. Hajela, D.P.: Improved Procedures for the Recovery of 5° Mean Gravity Anomalies from ATS-6/GEOS-3 Satellite to Satellite Range-Rate Observations Using Least Squares Collocation, Report No. 276, Department of Geodetic Science, Ohio State University, Report AFGL-TR-78–0260, Air Force Geophys. Lab., Hanscom AFB, MA, 1978.Google Scholar
  6. Jekeli, C. and T.N. Upadhyay: Gravity Estimation from STAGE, a Satellite-to-Satellite Tracking Mission, J. Geophys. Res., 95(B7), 10973–10985, 1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. King, R.W., E.G. Masters, C. Rizos, A. Stolz, and J. Collins: Surveying With GPS, Monograph No.9, School of Surveying, University of New South Whales, Kensington, NSW, Australia, 1985.Google Scholar
  8. Lazarewicz, A.R., B.J. Schilinski, R.J. Cowie, C.L. Rice, P. Moss, and L.N. Carter: Balloon-Borne, High Altitude Gravimetry, The Flight of Ducky la (11 October 1983). Report AFGL-TR-85–0342, Air Force Geophysics Laboratory, Hanscom AFB, MA, 1985.Google Scholar
  9. Lazarewicz, A.R., B.J. Schilinski, L.N. Carter, R.J. Cowie, and C. Leyh: Balloon- Borne, High Altitude Gravimetry, The Flight of Ducky II (October 1985). Report AFGL-TR-87–0309, Air Force Geophysics Laboratory, Hanscom AFB, MA, 1987.Google Scholar
  10. Schmidt, G.T.: Strapdown Inertial Systems - Theory and Applications - Introduction and Overview. In: Strap-Down Inertial Systems, AGARD Lecture Series 95, NATO, 7 rue Ancelle, 92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, 1978.Google Scholar
  11. Trosen, D.W., P. deArujo, and B. Bower: Advanced Strapped-Down Accelerometer, AD- TR-88–103, prepared for Avionics Laboratory, Air Force Wright Aeronautical Laboratory by 6585th Test Group, Holloman AFB, 1988.Google Scholar
  12. Upadhyay, T.N., G. Priovolos, W.E. Vander Velde, and H. Rhodehamel: STS-GPS Tracking Experiment for Gravitation Estimation. Report AFGL-TR-89–0035, Air Force Geophysics Laboratory, Hanscom AFB, MA, 1989.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Jekeli
    • 1
  1. 1.Geophysics Directorate, Phillips Laboratory (AFSC)Hanscom AFBUSA

Personalised recommendations