Design of future Earth observing mass change constellations using small...

Deccia, C., D. Wiese, B. D. Loomis, and R. Nerem (2020), Design of future Earth observing mass change constellations using small satellites., AGU Fall Meeting 2020, Dec. 1-17, Online.

After the successful Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission, which ended in 2017, GRACE Follow-On was launched in 2018. Together, these missions have provided almost two decades of near-continuous information on the Earth's time-varying gravity field. Single pairs of satellites like GRACE and GRACE-FO are inherently limited in their spatio-temporal coverage, spatially to a few hundred kilometers and temporally to a roughly monthly resolution. In order to increase the global spatio-temporal resolution and therefore allow for the determination of submonthly time-varying gravity field events, a constellation of GRACE-type pairs has been studied. 
Small satellite instrumentation is becoming increasingly affordable, reliable and precise. This will soon allow a constellation of GRACE-type small satellites to be deployed. In this work we investigate the performance of such a constellation for different numbers of satellite pairs using simulation studies which include different orbital con¦gurations. We design constellations using an evolutionary algorithm approach to optimize spatial and temporal resolution given a set of N satellite pairs. This allows us to evaluate the improved spatio-temporal performance, and thus the science return, that might be gained from such future mission architectures.

Research Program: 
Earth Surface & Interior Program (ESI)
AGU Fall Meeting 2020
Conference Date: 
Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - Thursday, December 17, 2020
Funding Sources: 
NASA Earth and Space Sciences Fellowship - Grant: 18-EARTH18F-0380