Precise Orbit Determination of BDS-2 and BDS-3 Using SLR
The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) of China is currently in the hybrid-use period of BDS-2 and BDS-3 satellites. All of them are equipped with Laser Retroreflect Arrays (LRAs) for Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR), which can directly obtain an independent, sub-centimetre level of distance measurement. The main purpose of this contribution is to use the solely SLR Normal Points (NPs) data to determinate the precise orbit of BDS-2 and BDS-3 satellites, including one Geostationary Earth
... ationary Earth Orbit (GEO), three Inclined Geo-Synchronous Orbits (ISGO), and one Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) of BDS-2 satellites, as well as four MEO of BDS-3 satellites, from 1 January to 30 June 2019. The microwave-based orbit from Wuhan University (WUM) are firstly validated to mark and eliminate the bad SLR observations in our preprocessing stage. Then, the 3-, 5-, 7-, and 9-day arc solutions are performed to investigate the impact of the different orbital arc lengths on the quality of SLR-derived orbits and test the optimal solution of the multi-day arc. Moreover, the dependency of SLR-only orbit determination accuracy on the number of SLR observations and the number of SLR sites are discussed to explore the orbit determination quality of the 3-,5-, 7-, and 9-day arc solutions. The results indicate that (1) during the half-year time span of 2019, the overall Root Mean Square (RMS) of SLR validation residuals derived from WUM is 19.0 cm for BDS-2 GEO C01, 5.2–7.3 cm for three BDS-2 IGSO, 3.4 cm for BDS-2 MEO C11, and 4.4–5.7 cm for four BDS-3 MEO satellites respectively. (2) The 9-day arc solutions present the best orbit accuracy in our multi-day SLR-only orbit determination for BDS IGSO and MEO satellites. The 9-day overlaps median RMS of BDS MEO in RTN directions are evaluated at 3.6–5.7, 12.4–21.6, and 15.6–23.9 cm respectively, as well as 5.7–9.6, 15.0–36.8, and 16.5–35.2 cm for the comparison with WUM precise orbits, while these values of BDS IGSO are larger by a factor of about 3–10 than BDS MEO orbits in their corresponding RTN directions. Furthermore, the optimal average 3D-RMS of 9-day overlaps is 0.49 and 1.89 m for BDS MEO and IGSO respectively, as well as 0.55 and 1.85 m in comparison with WUM orbits. Owing to its extremely rare SLR observations, the SLR-only orbit determination accuracy of BDS-2 GEO satellite can only reach a level of 10 metres or worse. (3) To obtain a stable and reliable SLR-only precise orbit, the 7-day to 9-day arc solutions are necessary to provide a sufficient SLR observation quantity and geometry, with more than 50–80 available SLR observations at 5–6 SLR sites that are evenly distributed, both in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.