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Atmospheric Refractivity Corrections in Satellite Laser Ranging

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2 Author(s)
Abshire, J.B. ; Instrument Electro-Optics Branch, NASA-God-dard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 ; Gardner, C.S.

Atmospheric refraction can cause significant errors in satellite laser ranging (SLR) systems. There are two techniques which can be used to correct for these errors. Atmospheric models based upon surface measurements of pressure, temperature, and relative humidity have been shown by ray tracing to be accurate to within a few centimeters at 20° elevation angle. The residual errors in the models are thought to be primarily caused by horizontal gradients in the refractivity. vity. Although models have been developed to predict the grnt effects, initial studies show that they can be sensitive to local topographic effects. Atmospheric turbulence can introduce random fluctuations in the refractivity, but only introduces centimeter level errors at elevation angles below 10°. Pulsed two-color ranging systems can directly measura the atmospheric delay in satellite ranging. These systems require mode-locked multiple-frequency lasers and streak-camera-based receivers and currently appear capable of measuring the atmospheric delay with an accuracy of 0.5 cm or better.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:GE-23 ,  Issue: 4 )