Geocenter variations derived from GPS tracking of the GRACE satellites
Two 4.5-year sets of daily geocenter variations have been derived from GPS-LEO (Low-Earth Orbiter) tracking of the GRACE (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment) satellites. The twin GRACE satellites, launched in March 2002, are each equipped with a BlackJack global positioning system (GPS) receiver for precise orbit determination and gravity recovery. Since launch, there have been significant improvements in the background force models used for satellite orbit determination, most notably the model for the geopotential, which has resulted in significant improvements to the orbit determination accuracy. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the potential for determining seasonal (annual and semiannual) geocenter variations using GPS-LEO tracking data from the GRACE twin satellites. Internal comparison between the GRACE-A and GRACE-B derived geocenter variations shows good agreement. In addition, the annual and semiannual variations of geocenter motions determined from this study have been compared with other space geodetic solutions and predictions from geophysical models. The comparisons show good agreement except for the phase of the z-translation component.
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Journal of Geodesy
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