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Predictions of the GOCE in-flight performances with the End-to-End System Simulator

Giuseppe Catastini(1), Stefano Cesare(1), Simona De Sanctis(1), Massimo Dumontel(1), Manlio Parisch(1) and Gianfranco Sechi(1)

(1) AAS-I, Strada Antica di Collegno, 253, 10146 Torino, Italy


The Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite is now at about one year from the launch (planned for the second half of 2007). The GOCE payload (constituted by a 3-axis gradiometer and by a 12-channel GPS receiver) has been implemented and characterized to the maximum possible extent on ground. The results of the characterisation tests have been used to complete the high-fidelity models of the GOCE instruments which are included in the GOCE End-to-End (E2E) System Simulator. The E2E Simulator, set up since the early stages of the GOCE programme and continuously updated according to the project evolution, includes in addition accurate models of the satellite linear and angular dynamics and of its perturbations, of the Drag-Free and Attitude Control System and of the orbit environment (Earth gravity and magnetic field, atmosphere density and winds at satellite altitude, Sun/Earth radiation, GPS satellite constellation). This tool allows simulating the in-flight dynamics behaviour of the satellite in various mission phases and the behaviour/output of the payload instruments during initial set up, calibration and science modes. A post-processing module elaborated the raw measurements using the Payload Data Ground Segment algorithms and provides the Level 1b products of the mission, among which the components of the gravity gradient tensor in the Gradiometer Reference Frame and the GPS receiver measurements, derived positions and reconstituted satellite orbit in Earth-fixed reference frame.

he GOCE E2E System Simulator is the tool utilized for producing the most reliable prediction of the GOCE in-flight performances on the measurement of the gravity gradient tensor and on the observables from which the precise orbit determination is performed. These performances are the result of factors that cannot be fully tested on ground (for the impossibility of reproducing the orbit gravitational environment) and can be treated analytically only in a simplified way (for their complexity), like the intrinsic noise of the gradiometer accelerometers, the behaviour of the Drag-Free and Attitude Control System of the platform, the functioning of the gradiometer in-flight calibration procedure. This paper will present the results of the last simulation of the gradiometer in-flight calibration and of the successive mission measurement phase carried out with an E2E Simulator fully representative of the as-built satellite and payload. The resulting performances on the Level 1b product of the GOCE mission will be provided.


Workshop presentation

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry