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