A discussion of observation model, error sources and signal size for spaceborne gravitational gradiometry


Various space concepts were discussed during the past 20 years for a global improvement of the knowledge of the earth's gravity field. The concepts reach from high-low and low-low satellite-to-satellite tracking via tethered satellite gradiometers to sophisticated superconducting gradiometers. The purpose is to show that starting from one basic equation three criteria are sufficient to typify the various concepts and define the underlying observation model. Furthermore the different error sources, in particular, the time varying part of self-gravitation, and the expected signal size of all six gravity gradient components shall be discussed

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