Numerical simulations of a Mars geodesy network experiment: Effect of orbiter angular momentum desaturation on Mars' rotation estimation
Rosenblatt, P × Marty, JC Perosanz, F Barriot, JP Van Hoolst, Tim Dehant, V #
Pergamon-elsevier science ltd
Planetary and space science vol:52 issue:11 pages:965-975
The scientific objectives of a geodetic experiment based on a network of landers, such as NEIGE (NEtlander Ionosphere and Geodesy Experiment) are to improve the current knowledge of Mars' interior and atmosphere dynamics. Such a network science experiment allows monitoring the motions of the Martian rotation axis with a precision of a few centimeters (or milli-arc-seconds (mas)) over annual and sub-annual periods. Thereto, besides radio tracking of a Mars orbiter from the Earth, radio Doppler shifts between this orbiter and several landers at the planet's surface will be performed. From the analysis of these radio Doppler data. it is possible to reconstruct the orbiter motion and Mars' orientation in space. The errors on the orbit determination (position and velocity of the orbiter) have an impact on the geodetic parameters determination from the Doppler shifts and must be removed from the signal in order to achieve a high enough accuracy. In this paper, we perform numerical simulations of the two Doppler signals involved in such an experiment to estimate the impact of the spacecraft angular momentum desaturations on the determination of Mars' orientation variations. The attitude control of the orbiter needs such desaturation maneuvers regularly repeated. They produce velocity variations that must be taken into account when determining the orbit. For our simulations, we use a priori models of the Martian rotation and introduce the spacecraft velocity variations induced by each desaturation event. By a least-squares adjustment of the simulated Doppler signals, we then estimate the orbiter velocity variations and the parameters of the Mars' rotation model. We show that these velocity variations are ill resolved when the spacecraft is not tracked, therefore requiring a rear-continuous tracking from the Earth to accurately determine the orbit. In such conditions we show that only 15-20 min of lander-orbiter tracking per week allows recovering Mars' orientation parameters with a precision of a few mas over a period of 1 Martian year. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.