Satellite orbits, mission analysis and applications

Within the themes of satellite orbits, mission analysis and applications, the department focuses on extremely precise satellite orbit solutions. They are a prerequisite for many space missions. This involves data processing and analysis of large amounts of tracking data and detailed modelling of minute forces and observation parameters. Applications include monitoring surface changes (crust, ice and sea level), gravity field and (upper) atmosphere of the Earth and other planets and moons in the solar system. Due to our expertise in this field we are a preferred partner in many institutional (e.g. ESA, EU, NOAA) and industrial projects and operational satellite missions. See below for a list of satellites for which our group has computed precise orbits.

Recent highlights are the first ESA Earth Explorers GOCE (see below) and CryoSat-2, launched in March 2009 and April 2010 respectively. The department has long-term contracts to support the data analysis of these missions as well as for the upcoming Swarm mission. Other ground breaking research is focused on using space techniques to investigate natural hazards caused by earthquakes, tsunamis, sea-level changes and melting of the icecaps. This has already resulted in publications in high-impact journals such as Science (article here and here) and Nature Geoscience (article here).   

 

Poster

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Satellites for which our group has computed precise orbits:

satellite

satellite

CHAMP 

GRACE

CryoSat-2 

SELENE

ENVISAT 

Swarm

GOCE

Topex

 

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