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Precise Orbit Determination for the GEOSAT Follow-On SpacecraftThe US Navy's GEOSAT Follow-On spacecraft was launched on February 10, 1998 with its primary mission objective to map the oceans using a radar altimeter. The spacecraft tracking complement consists of GPS receivers, a laser retroreflector and Doppler beacons. Since the GPS receivers have not yet returned reliable data, the only means of providing high-quality precise orbits has been though satellite laser ranging (SLR). SLR has tracked the spacecraft since April 22, 1998, and an average of 7 passes per day have been obtained from US and foreign stations. Since the predicted radial orbit error due to the gravity field is only two to three cm, the largest contributor to the high SLR residuals (10 cm) is the mismodelling of the non-conservative forces. The SLR residuals show a clear correlation with beta prime (solar elevation) angle, peaking in mid-August 1998 when the beta prime angle reached -80 to -90 degrees. We report in this paper on the analysis of the GFO tracking data (SLR, Doppler, and if available GPS) using GEODYN, and on the tuning of the non-conservative force model and the gravity model using these data.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Lemoine, Frank G.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Rowlands, David D.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Zelensky, Nikita P.
(Raytheon STX Corp. Greenbelt, MD United States)
Luthcke, Scott B.
(Raytheon STX Corp. Greenbelt, MD United States)
Cox, Christopher M.
(Raytheon STX Corp. Greenbelt, MD United States)
Marr, Gregory C.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: 1999 Flight Mechanics Symposium
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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