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Data-driven Atmospheric Drag and Radiation Pressure Models Based on GRACE-C Accelerometer Measurements for the Study of the Upper Atmosphere
  • Myrto Tzamali
Myrto Tzamali
PhD student

Corresponding Author:myrtotz@yorku.ca

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The atmospheric drag and the Radiation Pressure are the dominant forces acting on LEO satellites. Many different approaches have been followed for the modelling of these non-gravitational forces, based on the physics and the satellite characteristics, but in many cases large inconsistencies are present between the models and the accelerometer measurements. Atmospheric drag is considered as the most difficult force to model, and the Radiation Pressure models show large deviations from the measurements depending on the b′ angle and the position of the satellite near the entrance and the exit from the Earth’s shadow. Numerous models have been presented for GRACE satellites but none for GRACE-FO. The innovation of this study is the development of an atmospheric drag and a Radiation Pressure data-driven model based only on the accelerometer measurements of GRACE-C satellite, using least squares principles. The atmospheric drag is modelled using accelerometer measurements from the shadow segment of the orbit. An additional weighted constraint is that near the middle of the sun segment of the orbit, the drag in the x-direction should be equal to the actual measurements due to Radiation Pressure being nearly zero. Subsequently, we subtract the modelled drag from the real measurements in order to estimate the Radiation Pressure which, consequently, is modelled using a least squares frequency-domain analysis. The residual series proceeded from the subtraction of these two models from the actual measurements of GRACE-C accelerometer, are analyzed by taking into consideration the local time, the spatial information and the variations of b΄ angle, as well as their connection with electromagnetic changes in the upper atmosphere. The proposed models have been tested for different time periods in the last three years of GRACE C and the rms of the residual series along the x and the z axes of the accelerometer is ~2.5 nm/s2, while the y-axis exhibits an rms of ~1 nm/s^2.