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The Altimetric Bathymetry from Surface Slopes (ABYSS), which is the proposed science payload on the International Space Station (ISS), is a Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory-developed flight-proved delay-Doppler phase-monopulse radar altimeter capable of measuring ocean surface slope in the 6-200-km half-wavelength frequency band range with an accuracy of 0.5 mu rad , with autonomous gimbal control to compensate for the ISS structural motions. This measurement allows an improved mapping of the global bathymetry, enabling a wide range of scientific research works and applications. The nonrepeat ISS orbital ground track is ideal for ABYSS. This letter describes a simulation study on the effects of the Earth's gravity field and other errors, including thermal bending of the ISS, on the orbit determination of the altimeter instrument antenna phase center location, fulfilling the science objectives of ABYSS. Our study concluded that the error due to mean gravity field is no longer limiting due primarily to the recent Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment gravity modeling and that the ABYSS/ISS radial orbit slope error budget in the presence of various force and measurement model errors is estimated at the 0.2-mu rad root-sum-squared (RSS) level, which satisfies the ABYSS orbit accuracy science requirement to provide an improved mapping of global bathymetry.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2009