Enhancing the kinematic precise orbit determination of low earth orbiters using GPS receiver clock modelling
Clock error estimation has been the focus of a great deal of research because of the extensive usage of clocks in GPS positioning applications. The receiver clock error in the spacecraft orbit determination is commonly estimated on an epoch-by-epoch basis, along with the spacecraft’s position. However, due to the high correlation between the spacecraft orbit altitude and the receiver clock parameters, estimates of the radial component are degraded in the kinematic approach. Using clocks with high stability, the predictable behaviour of the receiver oscillator can be exploited to improve the positioning accuracy, especially for the radial component. This paper introduces two GPS receiver clock models to describe the deterministic and stochastic property of the receiver clock, both of which can improve the accuracy of kinematic orbit determination for spacecraft in low earth orbit. In particular, the clock parameters are estimated as time offset and frequency offset in the two-state model. The frequency drift is also estimated as an unknown parameter in the three-state model. Additionally, residual non-deterministic random errors such as frequency white noise, frequency random walk noise and frequency random run noise are modelled. Test results indicate that the positioning accuracy could be improved significantly using one day of GRACE flight data. In particular, the error of the radial component was reduced by over 40.0% in the real-time scenario.