Investigation of the Feasibility of a Short Arc Reduction of Satellite Altimetry for Determination of the Oceanic Geoid.
Final rept. Jan 72-Aug 73,
DBA SYSTEMS INC MELBOURNE FLA
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A short arc approach to the determination of the oceanic geoid from observations made by a satellite-borne radar altimeter entails the recovery of geoidal parameters simultaneously with the recovery of weakly constrained orbital state vectors defining a very large number i.e., thousands of independent, interlocking short arcs arcs typically 16 to 18 revolution in length. Patterned characteristics of the normal equations make such a simultaneous solution possible, no matter how many sets of orbital parameters are to be recovered. Computer simulations demonstrate that the approach is strongly determinate and can reasonably be expected to produce an oceanic geoid having an rms accuracy approaching one meter from the reduction of GEOS C observations. The major advantage offered by the short arc approach is that it in no way depends on the establishment of a highly accurate reference orbit and thus places only minimal requirements on satellite tracking by external systems. An additional advantage is that observational residuals can be expected to be relatively uncompromised by orbital biases. Modified author abstract