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Use of radio science and navigation data for the construction of planetary ephemerides

  • Di Ruscio, Andrea
Publication Date
Apr 30, 2021
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The central theme of the thesis concerns the exploitation of radio tracking measurements for the development of planetary ephemerides, in particular, applied on two research topics: 1) the analysis of navigation data of Cassini mission to enhance the ephemeris of Saturn and increase our knowledge of the outer solar system; 2) the simulation of BepiColombo measurements collected during the orbital phase at Mercury, for assessing their contribution on the Intégrateur Numérique Planétaire de l’Observatoire de Paris (INPOP) planetary ephemerides.The first research aims at reprocessing Cassini radio tracking data by exploiting the current knowledge of the Saturnian system developed throughout the mission, i.e. the availability of accurate satellite ephemerides and precise gravity solutions for Saturn, Titan and the other major moons. This allows the production of more precise normal points, which are able to constrain the orbit of the planet at meters-level for 13 years (almost half of its revolution) and to provide invaluable insights on the mass of the Kuiper belt. The results show a reduction of a factor 5 on normal points uncertainties with respect to previous analyses, providing tighter constraints on the acceptance regions of planet 9.The second research topic focuses on the production of realistic normal points derived from the end-to-end simulation of BepiColombo Mercury Orbiter Radio-science Experiment (MORE). The uncertainties of the normal points are deduced from the mapped covariance of the spacecraft state. The derived measurements are then processed with the INPOP weighted-least squares filter to quantify the achievable constraints on ephemerides and relativistic parameters.

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