Articles | Volume 9, issue 2
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 9, 833–848, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-9-833-2017
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 9, 833–848, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-9-833-2017

Review article 17 Nov 2017

Review article | 17 Nov 2017

Instrument data simulations for GRACE Follow-on: observation and noise models

Neda Darbeheshti1, Henry Wegener1, Vitali Müller1, Majid Naeimi2, Gerhard Heinzel1, and Martin Hewitson1 Neda Darbeheshti et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute), Leibniz Universität Hannover, Hanover, Germany
  • 2Institut für Erdmessung-Leibniz Universität Hannover, Hanover, Germany

Abstract. The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission has yielded data on the Earth's gravity field to monitor temporal changes for more than 15 years. The GRACE twin satellites use microwave ranging with micrometre precision to measure the distance variations between two satellites caused by the Earth's global gravitational field. GRACE Follow-on (GRACE-FO) will be the first satellite mission to use inter-satellite laser interferometry in space. The laser ranging instrument (LRI) will provide two additional measurements compared to the GRACE mission: interferometric inter-satellite ranging with nanometre precision and inter-satellite pointing information. We have designed a set of simulated GRACE-FO data, which include LRI measurements, apart from all other GRACE instrument data needed for the Earth's gravity field recovery. The simulated data files are publicly available via https://doi.org/10.22027/AMDC2 and can be used to derive gravity field solutions like from GRACE data. This paper describes the scientific basis and technical approaches used to simulate the GRACE-FO instrument data.

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Short summary
The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission has yielded data on the Earth's gravity field to monitor temporal changes for more than 15 years. GRACE Follow-on will be the first satellite mission to use inter-satellite laser interferometry in space to measure the distance variations between two satellites caused by the Earth's global gravitational field. This paper describes the scientific basis and technical approaches used to simulate the GRACE Follow-on instrument data.