• Shin, Dong-Seok (Satllite Technology Research Center, KAIST) ;
  • Kwak, Sung-Hee (Satllite Technology Research Center, KAIST) ;
  • Kim, Tag-Gon (Dept. ELectrical and Electronic Engineering, KAIST)
  • Published : 1999.12.01


As the spatial resolution of remote sensing satellites becomes higher, very accurate determination of the position of a LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellite is demanding more than ever. Non-symmetric Earth gravity is the major perturbation force to LEO satellites. Since the orbit propagation is performed in the celestial frame while Earth gravity is defined in the terrestrial frame, it is required to convert the coordinates of the satellite from one to the other accurately. Unless the coordinate conversion between the two frames is performed accurately the orbit propagation calculates incorrect Earth gravitational force at a specific time instant, and hence, causes errors in orbit prediction. The coordinate conversion between the two frames involves precession, nutation, Earth rotation and polar motion. Among these factors, unpredictability and uncertainty of Earth rotation, called UTI-UTC, is the largest error source. In this paper, the effect of UTI-UTC on the accuracy of the LEO propagation is introduced, tested and analzed. Considering the maximum unpredictability of UTI-UTC, 0.9 seconds, the meaningful order of non-spherical Earth harmonic functions is derived.



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