GNSS antenna phase center variation calibration for attitude determination on short baselines

Daniel Willi, Michael Meindl, Hui Xu, Markus Rothacher

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: CubETH is a satellite project aimed at technology demonstration. One of the mission goals is the determination of the attitude of the 10 × 10 × 10 cm^3 spacecraft with GNSS. First tests revealed that Phase Center Variations (PCV) dominate the error budget. In consequence, a simple field method for PCV calibration of antenna systems was developed. The estimated PCV confirms the hypothesis of mutual influence of the antennas. A simulation study using the estimated pattern and a validation with real data proved that the PCV calibrations significantly enhance the accuracy of the attitude determination. The root mean square error of the estimated attitude of a platform with three antennas located within 15 cm of each other could be reduced from 6° to 4.5°. The newly developed calibration method is easy to carry out and will help to enhance the accuracy of GNSS attitude determination systems.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 65, Number 4
Pages: 643 - 654
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https://doi.org/10.1002/navi.273
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