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A Ka-Band Celestial Reference Frame with Applications to Deep Space NavigationThe Ka-band radio spectrum is now being used for a wide variety of applications. This paper highlights the use of Ka-band as a frequency for precise deep space navigation based on a set of reference beacons provided by extragalactic quasars which emit broadband noise at Ka-band. This quasar-based celestial reference frame is constructed using X/Ka-band (8.4/32 GHz) from fifty-five 24-hour sessions with the Deep Space Network antennas in California, Australia, and Spain. We report on observations which have detected 464 sources covering the full 24 hours of Right Ascension and declinations down to -45 deg. Comparison of this X/Ka-band frame to the international standard S/X-band (2.3/8.4 GHz) ICRF2 shows wRMS agreement of approximately 200 micro-arcsec in alpha cos(delta) and approximately 300 micro-arcsec in delta. There is evidence for systematic errors at the 100 micro-arcsec level. Known errors include limited SNR, lack of instrumental phase calibration, tropospheric refraction mis-modeling, and limited southern geometry. The motivation for extending the celestial reference frame to frequencies above 8 GHz is to access more compact source morphology for improved frame stability and to support spacecraft navigation for Ka-band based NASA missions.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Jacobs, Christopher S.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Clark, J. Eric
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Garcia-Miro, Cristina
(Ingenieria y Servicios Aerospaciales, S.A. Madrid, Spain)
Horiuchi, Shinji
(Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization Sydney, Australia)
Sotuela, Ioana
(Ingenieria y Servicios Aerospaciales, S.A. Madrid, Spain)
Date Acquired
April 24, 2015
Publication Date
October 3, 2011
Subject Category
Space Communications, Spacecraft Communications, Command And Tracking
Meeting Information
Meeting: Ka and Broadband Communications, Navigation and Earth Observation Conference
Location: Palermo
Country: Italy
Start Date: October 3, 2011
End Date: October 5, 2011
Sponsors: NASA Headquarters, Communications Research Centre, Italian Space Agency, National Inst. of Information and Communications Technology, European Space Agency, Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)
Distribution Limits
celestial frame
radio continuum
frame tie

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