ORBIT DETERMINATION FROM MINITRACK OBSERVATIONS
ROYAL AIRCRAFT ESTABLISHMENT FARNBOROUGH (UNITED KINGDOM)
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Although Minitrack observations are only accurate to about 1 minute of arc, accurate orbits have been obtained for a number of satellites. This is due to the excellent global coverage of the NASA Minitrack network. The accuracy obtained for eccentricity is typically about 0.00001, and comparable values are obtained for the other orbital elements. The main source of observational error is thought to be inadequate correction for ionospheric refraction. Apparent error arises through deficiencies in the orbital model, namely, inadequate representation of satellite perturbations due to the Earths tesseral harmonics and to atmospheric drag.
- Spacecraft Trajectories and Reentry