Orbit Determination of a Near-Synchronous Satellite from Passive Range Observations
JOHNS HOPKINS UNIV LAUREL MD APPLIED PHYSICS LAB
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An experiment is described by which the ephemeris of a near- synchronous satellite, designated 1967-66F, has been determined from passive range observations. More precisely, the data consist of the measured times of reception at ground tracking stations of electromagnetic signals that are radiated from the satellite at time intervals regulated by an ultrastable free- running oscillator. The ground tracking stations number four and are located at Howard County, Maryland USA, Misawa Japan, Smithfield Australia, and San Jose dos Campos Brazil. An ephemeris and three satellite clock parameters are estimated by the procedure of differential correction in the method of least squares. A comparison of the ephemeris to one obtained from the doppler tracking method is presented. This indicates that the accuracy of the ephemeris is better than 4.9 mrad rms, which was the goal of the orbit determination effort.
- Spacecraft Trajectories and Reentry