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Article

Triple-Pair Constellation Configurations for Temporal Gravity Field Retrieval

Chair of Astronomical and Physical Geodesy, Technical University of Munich, Arcisstraße 21, 80333 Munich, Germany
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Remote Sens. 2020, 12(5), 831; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12050831
Received: 11 February 2020 / Revised: 3 March 2020 / Accepted: 3 March 2020 / Published: 4 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geodesy for Gravity and Height Systems)
The goal of next-generation gravity missions (NGGM) is to improve the monitoring of mass transport in the Earth system by an increased space-time sampling capability as well as higher accuracies of a new generation of instrumentation, but also to continue the monitoring time series obtained by past and current missions such as GRACE and GRACE Follow-On. As the likelihood of three satellite pairs being simultaneously in orbit in the mid-term future increased, we have performed a closed-loop simulation to investigate the impact of a third pair in either polar or inclined orbit as an addition to a Bender-type constellation with NGGM instrumentation. For the additional pair, GRACE-like as well as NGGM instrumentation was tested. The analysis showed that the third pair mainly increases the redundancy of the monitoring system but does not significantly improve de-aliasing capabilities. The best-performing triple-pair scenario comprises a third inclined pair with NGGM sensors. Starting with a Bender-type constellation of a polar and an inclined satellite pair, simulation results indicate an average improvement of 11% in case of adding the third pair in a near-polar orbit, and of 21% for the third pair placed in an inclined orbit. The most important advantage of a multi-pair constellation, however, is the possibility to recover daily gravity fields with higher spatial resolution. In the case of the investigated triple-pair scenarios, a meaningful daily resolution with a maximum spherical harmonic degree of 26 can be achieved, while a higher daily parametrization up to degree 40 results in spatial aliasing and thus would need additional constraints or prior information. View Full-Text
Keywords: future gravity missions; time variable gravity; near-real time; numerical simulation; spherical harmonics future gravity missions; time variable gravity; near-real time; numerical simulation; spherical harmonics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Purkhauser, A.F.; Pail, R. Triple-Pair Constellation Configurations for Temporal Gravity Field Retrieval. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 831. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12050831

AMA Style

Purkhauser AF, Pail R. Triple-Pair Constellation Configurations for Temporal Gravity Field Retrieval. Remote Sensing. 2020; 12(5):831. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12050831

Chicago/Turabian Style

Purkhauser, Anna F.; Pail, Roland. 2020. "Triple-Pair Constellation Configurations for Temporal Gravity Field Retrieval" Remote Sens. 12, no. 5: 831. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12050831

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