Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Make More Accurate Observation of Earth System Possible

22.09.2004


Researchers at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of TU Delft have succeeded in modelling the rotational behaviour of two satellites with unprecedented accuracy. This makes it possible to model the orbit of the satellites much more accurately and this means that changes on earth observed by the satellite are also more accurate, for example, melting of the polar icecaps or the transport of water and atmospheric mass around the globe.



Satellites often have a rotational movement after being launched. This rotation and the mechanical characteristics of the satellites influence their orbits. This phenomenon was previously described using a number of (incidental) measurements and a rough model. The model created by the Delft PhD Student Nacho Andrés and his supervisor Ron Noomen, together with colleagues from the United States, Italy and Japan, removes much uncertainty about the behaviour of satellites.

The rotational movement of satellites varies in time, from rapid movement, to almost none at all. Both situations have very different consequences for the temperature distribution on the satellite’s surface, and therefore on the size and direction of the so-called thermal forces that result from non-uniform heat radiation. These thermal forces are incredibly small, a factor 1013 smaller than the gravity that governs our everyday lives. Still, being able to calculate these small forces is important in the calculation of a satellite’s orbit.


The model that the researchers of the department of Earth Observation and Space Systems together with their international colleagues have developed, represents the orbital behaviour of the LAGEOS-1 and LAGEOS-2 satellites (launched in 1976 and 1992 respectively) with extreme accuracy (up to 1 cm). The model, called LOSSAM (LAGEOS Spin Axis Model), is based on independent observations of the rotation of satellites. It computes a whole range of forces that act on the satellites. LOSSAM provides an accuracy improvement of up to 50% over previous models. The new model is especially relevant for the rotational behaviour of LAGEOS-1 since 1998, because here, other models fail to produce results.

The research results have been published in a recent edition of the scientific Journal of Geophysical Research. In a follow-up project, the thermal and conductive characteristics of the satellites will be included, allowing a comprehensive thermal model to be constructed. This will, of course, further increase the accuracy of the model and therefore the satellites’ readings.

Maarten van der Sanden | alfa
Further information:
http://www.tudelft.nl

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica
05.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>