Marco Laurenti, Cosimo Stallo, Veronique Bellardo, Thales Alenia Space; Jean-Charles Marty, CNES; Pietro Giordano, Paolo Zoccarato, Erik Schoenemann, Richard Swinden, Javier Ventura Traveset, European Space Agency

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Abstract:

The accuracy of the reference frames is one of the main aspects impacting the positioning performance of a Satellite Radio Navigation System. Currently, different realisations of the Lunar reference systems are available. They have been used so far in all missions around the Moon, for example to perform orbit propagation during orbit determination, or to generate cartographic products of the Lunar surface. The main issue to be addressed is the level of accuracy of these realizations and how it would impact a Lunar Radio Navigation System. The goal of this work is to provide an exhaustive analysis of the state of the art of Selenodetic and Timing Reference Systems and Frames that could be applicable to a Lunar Radio Navigation System. After this analysis, a preliminary study to evaluate the precision of these realisations is presented. Moreover, the impact of the accuracy of the frame on the orbit propagation (specifically on the modelling of the Lunar gravity field) is investigated and quantified, being one of the major aspects impacting the Lunar Ephemeris Error (LEE) defined as the norm of the 4D positioning and synchronisation error. Multiple Lunar missions are planned for the years to come. Both for navigation purposes and for distributing scientific products, there is an urge in defining a standard reference frame in which all these data can be harmonised and centralised. This paper also aims at collecting all significant information that shall be taken into account towards the definition of standardized Lunar reference frames.