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  Revisiting the Light Time Correction in Gravimetric Missions Like GRACE and GRACE Follow-On

Yan, Y., Müller, V., Heinzel, G., & Zhong, M. (2021). Revisiting the Light Time Correction in Gravimetric Missions Like GRACE and GRACE Follow-On. Journal of Geodesy, 95: 48. doi:10.1007/s00190-021-01498-5.

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 Creators:
Yan, Yihao, Author
Müller, Vitali1, Author              
Heinzel, Gerhard1, Author              
Zhong, Min, Author
Affiliations:
1Laser Interferometry & Gravitational Wave Astronomy, AEI-Hannover, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society, ou_24010              

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Free keywords: Astrophysics, Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics, astro-ph.IM
 Abstract: The gravity field maps of the satellite gravimetry missions GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) and GRACE Follow-On are derived by means of precise orbit determination. The key observation is the biased inter-satellite range, which is measured primarily by a K-Band Ranging system (KBR) in GRACE and GRACE Follow-On. The GRACE Follow-On satellites are additionally equipped with a Laser Ranging Interferometer (LRI), which provides measurements with lower noise compared to the KBR. The biased range of KBR and LRI needs to be converted for gravity field recovery into an instantaneous range, i.e. the biased Euclidean distance between the satellites' center-of-mass at the same time. One contributor to the difference between measured and instantaneous range arises due to the non-zero travel time of electro-magnetic waves between the spacecraft. We revisit the calculation of the light time correction (LTC) from first principles considering general relativistic effects and state-of-the-art models of Earth's potential field. The novel analytical expressions for the LTC of KBR and LRI can circumvent numerical limitations of the classical approach. The dependency of the LTC on geopotential models and on the parameterization is studied, and afterwards the results are compared against the LTC provided in the official datasets of GRACE and GRACE Follow-On. It is shown that the new approach has a significantly lower noise, well below the instrument noise of current instruments, especially relevant for the LRI, and even if used with kinematic orbit products. This allows calculating the LTC accurate enough even for the next generation of gravimetric missions.

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 Dates: 2020-05-272021-04-092021
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: This is a preprint of an open-access article published in Journal of Geodesy. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00190-021-01498-5
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 Identifiers: arXiv: 2005.13614
DOI: 10.1007/s00190-021-01498-5
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Title: Journal of Geodesy
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 95 Sequence Number: 48 Start / End Page: - Identifier: -