A Sensitivity Study of POD Using Dual-Frequency GPS for CubeSats Data Limitation and Resources
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Published by MDPI Publishing.
Making use of dual-frequency (DF) global navigation satellite system (GNSS) observations and good dynamic models, the precise orbit determination (POD) for the satellites on low earth orbits has been intensively investigated in the last decades and has achieved an accuracy of centimeters. With the rapidly increasing number of the CubeSat missions in recent years, the POD of CubeSats were also attempted with combined dynamic models and GNSS DF observations. While comprehensive dynamic models are allowed to be used in the postprocessing mode, strong constraints on the data completeness, continuity, and restricted resources due to the power and size limits of CubeSats still hamper the high-accuracy POD. An analysis of these constraints and their impact on the achievable orbital accuracy thus needs to be considered in the planning phase. In this study, with the focus put on the use of DF GNSS data in postprocessing CubeSat POD, a detailed sensitivity analysis of the orbital accuracy was performed w.r.t. the data continuity, completeness, observation sampling interval, latency requirements, availability of the attitude information, and arc length. It is found that the overlapping of several constraints often causes a relatively large degradation in the orbital accuracy, especially when one of the constraints is related to a low duty-cycle of, e.g., below 40% of time. Assuming that the GNSS data is properly tracked except for the assumed constraints, and using the International GNSS Service (IGS) final products or products from the IGS real-time service, the 3D orbital accuracy for arcs of 6 h to 24 h should generally be within or around 1 dm, provided that the limitation on data is not too severe, i.e., with a duty-cycle not lower than 40% and an observation sampling interval not larger than 60 s.
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