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Range Measurement as Practiced in the Deep Space Network

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3 Author(s)
Berner, J.B. ; California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena ; Bryant, S.H. ; Kinman, P.W.

Range measurements are used to improve the trajectory models of spacecraft tracked by the deep space network. The unique challenge of deep-space ranging is that the two-way delay is long, typically many minutes, and the signal-to-noise ratio is small. Accurate measurements are made under these circumstances by means of long correlations that incorporate Doppler rate-aiding. This processing is done with commercial digital signal processors, providing a flexibility in signal design that can accommodate both the traditional sequential ranging signal and pseudonoise range codes. Accurate range determination requires the calibration of the delay within the tracking station. Measurements with a standard deviation of 1 m have been made.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:95 ,  Issue: 11 )