Abstract's details

Assessment of Jason-3 and Sentinel-6 MF residual radiation pressure modeling errors

Marie Cherrier (Celad for CLS/CNES, France)


Alexandre Couhert (CNES, France); Flavien Mercier (CNES, France)

Event: 2023 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting

Session: Precision Orbit Determination

Presentation type: Type Forum only

Contribution: PDF file


Since the launch of Seasat (1978), the first satellite to study ocean topography, our knowledge of the rise of mean sea level has evolved. Since then, 18 additional satellites were launched, with more and more satellite missions (up to 10 satellites are now simultaneously flying) dedicated to the measurement of the global and regional sea-surface height, carrying on board state of the art precision orbit determination tracking techniques and instruments.

Jason-3 (2016) and Sentinel-6 MF (2020) are part and parcel of these ocean topography missions. The two reference satellites were operated in tandem (with Sentinel-6 MF flying 30 seconds behind its predecessor) between mid-December 2020 to April 2022 for calibration purposes. The main difference between these two satellites has to do with their respective platform design. Indeed, Sentinel-6 MF solar panels are fixed on the satellite and has an almost fixed attitude, unlike Jason-3 which has some yaw steering periods.

In this study, we focus on the solar radiation pressure modeling errors of both Sentinel-6 MF and Jason-3 during their tandem phase (4.5 beta cycles). The idea is to analyze the estimated empirical accelerations of these two satellites as a function of their beta angle. A preliminary result observed for Jason-3 (not seen at the beginning of its life) is a jump in the constant along-track acceleration when transiting between the positive and negative values of beta. The Solar Radiation Pressure (SRP) depends only on two parameters: the orbital angle with respect to the sub-solar point and the beta angle. We will then propose updates of the SRP models. The effect of the terrestrial radiative perturbations will also be assessed.
Marie Cherrier
Celad for CLS/CNES