Objectives High-accuracy and high-reliability satellite orbit is the fundamental requirement for precise applications of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Due to the uncalibrated phase delay (UPD) originated from receivers and satellites, the phase ambiguity cannot be estimated as integer values. Fixing phase ambiguity to proper integer number is one of the key issues to improve the precise orbit determination (POD) accuracy. The algorithms and methods of single-difference (SD) ambiguity resolution (AR) based on integer clocks are demonstrated. The reduced dynamic POD and kinematic POD with SD AR are implemented and the performance is analyzed.
Methods Integer clock is the precise clock product that absorbs satellite UPD. By applying integer clock products, the receiver UPD can be eliminated by forming SD ambiguities between two global navigation satellite system (GNSS) satellites. And the SD ambiguity recover its integer nature and can be fixed to integer value by a rounding strategy. The onboard gravity recovery and climate experiment follow on (GRACE-FO)data (GRACE-C/D) and integer clocks from Centre National d' Etudes Spatiales/ Collecte Localisation Satellites (CNES/CLS) of April and May 2019 was employed to evaluate the improvement of reduced dynamic POD and kinematic POD accuracy with SD AR.
Results The wide-lane ambiguity fixing rates of both reduced dynamic and kinematic POD reach 99% and the narrow-lane fixing rates are about 95%. For reduced dynamic POD, the 3D root mean square error (RMSE) values of overlapping orbit difference reduced from 7.1 mm and 7.4 mm to 4.2 mm and 3.6 mm for GRACE-C/D, respectively. The standard deviation values of satellite laser ranging (SLR) residuals decrease from 15.9 mm and 14.4 mm to 10.8 mm and 11.0 mm, with improvements of 32% and 24%. Besides, the RMSE values of K-band ranging residuals reduced from 8.0 mm to 2.9 mm, demonstrating that SD AR can also improve the relative position accuracy of LEO satellites. As for kinematic POD, the 3D RMSE values for orbit difference with precise science orbit (PSO) of ambiguity-float solution are 37.5 mm and 36.4 mm, while those of ambiguity-fixed solution are 27.7 mm and 25.5 mm, with improvements of about 28%. Moreover, the SLR residuals results also improved by 20%.
Conclusions With the integer clock products, SD AR can be achieved using onboard observations of a single LEO satellite. The SD AR can significantly improve both the reduced dynamic and kinematic POD accuracy of LEO satellites.