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Ocean Surface Topography from Space
Precision Orbit Determination To Support Altimetry
William Bertiger
(California Institute of Technology - JPL)

Shailen Desai
Bruce Haines
(California Institute of Technology - JPL)
Goddard Space Flight Center Jason-1 using SLR/DORIS - JPL Jason-1 using GPS
Larger image with caption


The position of the satellite in satellite altimetry directly effects the accuracy of the measurement of sea surface height. A radial error of 1 cm in positioning is a one cm error in the sea surface height. Over the years, our team has driven the errors in precise orbit determination (POD) of altimetry satellites down to the sub-cm level. We wish to continue our quest to improve precision orbit determination with a focus on GPS data for altimetry missions which started TOPEX/Poseidon and continued through JASON. We will continue to improve our force modeling and data processing techniques applying them to both historical JASON data and for the OSTM satellite. For OSTM we will perform the necessary on-orbit tuning of the POD force model and data processing to quickly obtain orbits with accuracy comparable to the best determined JASON orbits. We intend to make significant improvements in the POD of both JASON and OSTM. These efforts will address both POD for ultimate accuracy and near real-time data delivery of POD for operations applications of satellite altimetry.

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