Satellite Geodesy

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Satellite Geodesy


the branch of geodesy that studies the theory and methods of solving practical and theoretical geodetic problems on the basis of observations of artificial earth satellites and other objects in space. Through observations of satellites—in particular, by photographing the satellite against the background of stars with special cameras or by measuring the satellite’s distance and radial velocity with radio and laser instruments—both geometrical and dynamical problems can be dealt with. The geometrical problems involve the determination of the coordinates of points and the directions of chords of the earth’s surface. As for the dynamical problems, observations of satellites permit the parameters characterizing the earth’s gravitational field to be determined more precisely. Observations of satellites can also be used to determine the relative positions of islands and continents, to investigate the motion of the earth’s poles, and to study changes in the earth’s geodetic parameters over time. The application of the laser to distance measurement has revived interest in the moon as an object of observation for the solution of problems in satellite geodesy. In solving geometrical problems, the satellite is regarded as a point fixed in space at a certain moment in time. Synchronous, or simultaneous, observations of the satellite from a number of reference points and from a point whose coordinates are unknown allow the point’s position to be determined in a single system of coordinates of reference points. The observation of several satellites makes it possible to construct a satellite triangulation network or to lay out a vector path (seeSPACE GEODESY).

To solve dynamical problems, the laws of the motion of the satellite in its orbit must be known (seeCELESTIAL MECHANICS). In what is sometimes called the orbital method, knowledge of the satellite’s laws of motion permits the coordinates of the observation point to be determined from observations of the satellite. The problem of determining more precisely the parameters of the earth’s gravitational field presents a special difficulty: the solution of the problem is complicated by the large number of parameters being determined and by the need to take into account the influence of factors that perturb the satellite’s motion. The best solution to the problem is achieved when data from ground gravimetric surveys are used together with observations or data on the motion of satellites whose orbits are of different height and inclination. To investigate or eliminate perturbations, such as the perturbation due to atmospheric drag, geodetic satellites are used whose orbits are specially selected for this purpose. At the present time, radio and laser methods of observing the motion of satellites and remote space objects are playing an increasing role in solving the dynamical problems of satellite geodesy.


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Meiler, I. Vvedenie v sputnikovuiu geodeziiu. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
and Yagi, Y.: 2010, Deformation of the Earth's crust in the Northern Tien-Shan according the earthquake focal data and satellite geodesy. Izvestiya, Physics of the Solid Earth, 46, 3, 230-243.
Seeber G (2003) Satellite Geodesy. 2nd edition Walter de Gruyter, Berlin Shen Y, Chen Q, Hsu H, Zhang X, Lou L (2013) A modified short arc approach for recovering gravity eld model; presented at the GRACE Science Team Meeting, Austin, TX
He said that they conducted research studies in space and atmospheric sciences including satellite meteorology, satellite radiance, troposphere/stratosphere studies, atmospheric pollution, satellite geodesy and astronomy.
Farinella, Non-Gravitational Perturbations and Satellite Geodesy, Adam Hilger, Bristol, UK, 1987
In 1999-2000, the base for testing GNSS equipment was built at the Geodetic Observatory Skalka, and thus its importance for the field of satellite geodesy increased again.
"Locating a point to the exact centimeter for global positioning is an extremely dynamic process - after all, at our latitude, we are moving at around 350 meters to the east per second," Karl Ulrich Schreiber, who directed the project in TUM's Research Section Satellite Geodesy, said.
The keynote lectures discuss satellite geodesy, and the industry's obligation for mission success.
Max Schurer born; Director of the Astronomical Institute of Berne University; studied the orbits of the asteroids, stellar dynamics, and satellite geodesy.
Satellite Geodesy of the Polar Oceans American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting
The workshop was held under the auspices the Section of the Geodynamics of the Committee of Geodesy, Polish Academy of Sciences, the Section of Satellite Geodesy and Geodynamics, Academy of Engineering in Poland and the Czech Center for Earth Dynamic Research.

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