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GOCE Mission Objectives and Requirements

Mark Drinkwater(1) and Roger Haagmans(2)

(1) ESA, EOP-SMO, 2201AZ Noordwijk ZH, Netherlands
(2) ESA, EOP-SME, 2201AZ Noordwijk ZH, Netherlands


ESA's first Core Earth Explorer mission within the Living Planet Programme is the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE). GOCE shall play an important role in this ‘geopotential decade’ by acquiring a high quality, high spatial resolution gravity field and geoid for future scientific applications. GOCE combines an innovative new three-axis gravity gradiometer (EGG) instrument (comprising three x, y, z pairs of accelerometers with a baseline separation of 0.5 m) with a drag-compensating ion-propulsion system to measure for the first time the full gravity gradient tensor along its orbit at around 250 km altitude. GOCE will carry a GPS satellite-to-satellite tracking navigation system for 3-dimensional positioning, star trackers for precise pointing knowledge, and a laser retroreflector for ground laser tracking. The primary mission objective is for GOCE to make accurate and precise measurements of the Earth's stationary gravity field and gravity anomalies. Various applications in the fields of oceanography, solid-earth physics and geodesy require data to be acquired within specific ranges of accuracy and spatial resolution. This presentation will focus on the origin of the key GOCE mission requirements to obtain a gravity field accurate to 1 mGal at high spatial resolution 100 km, as well as a global geoid model to 1-2 cm accuracy.


Workshop presentation

Workshop poster

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