co-location of geodetic techniques in space

authored by
Pacôme Delva, Zuheir Altamimi, Alejandro Blazquez, Mathis Blossfeld, Johannes Böhm, Pascal Bonnefond, Jean Paul Boy, Sean Bruinsma, Grzegorz Bury, Miltiadis Chatzinikos, Alexandre Couhert, Clément Courde, Rolf Dach, Véronique Dehant, Simone Dell’Agnello, Gunnar Elgered, Werner Enderle, Pierre Exertier, Susanne Glaser, Rüdiger Haas, Wen Huang, Urs Hugentobler, Adrian Jäggi, Ozgur Karatekin, Frank G. Lemoine, Christophe Le Poncin-Lafitte, Susanne Lunz, Benjamin Männel, Flavien Mercier, Laurent Métivier, Benoît Meyssignac, Jürgen Müller, Axel Nothnagel, Felix Perosanz, Roelof Rietbroek, Markus Rothacher, Harald Schuh, Hakan Sert, Krzysztof Sosnica, Paride Testani, Javier Ventura-Traveset, Gilles Wautelet, Radoslaw Zajdel

Improving and homogenizing time and space reference systems on Earth and, more specifically, realizing the Terrestrial Reference Frame (TRF) with an accuracy of 1 mm and a long-term stability of 0.1 mm/year are relevant for many scientific and societal endeavors. The knowledge of the TRF is fundamental for Earth and navigation sciences. For instance, quantifying sea level change strongly depends on an accurate determination of the geocenter motion but also of the positions of continental and island reference stations, such as those located at tide gauges, as well as the ground stations of tracking networks. Also, numerous applications in geophysics require absolute millimeter precision from the reference frame, as for example monitoring tectonic motion or crustal deformation, contributing to a better understanding of natural hazards. The TRF accuracy to be achieved represents the consensus of various authorities, including the International Association of Geodesy (IAG), which has enunciated geodesy requirements for Earth sciences. Moreover, the United Nations Resolution 69/266 states that the full societal benefits in developing satellite missions for positioning and Remote Sensing of the Earth are realized only if they are referenced to a common global geodetic reference frame at the national, regional and global levels. Today we are still far from these ambitious accuracy and stability goals for the realization of the TRF. However, a combination and co-location of all four space geodetic techniques on one satellite platform can significantly contribute to achieving these goals. This is the purpose of the GENESIS mission, a component of the FutureNAV program of the European Space Agency. The GENESIS platform will be a dynamic space geodetic observatory carrying all the geodetic instruments referenced to one another through carefully calibrated space ties. The co-location of the techniques in space will solve the inconsistencies and biases between the different geodetic techniques in order to reach the TRF accuracy and stability goals endorsed by the various international authorities and the scientific community. The purpose of this paper is to review the state-of-the-art and explain the benefits of the GENESIS mission in Earth sciences, navigation sciences and metrology. This paper has been written and supported by a large community of scientists from many countries and working in several different fields of science, ranging from geophysics and geodesy to time and frequency metrology, navigation and positioning. As it is explained throughout this paper, there is a very high scientific consensus that the GENESIS mission would deliver exemplary science and societal benefits across a multidisciplinary range of Navigation and Earth sciences applications, constituting a global infrastructure that is internationally agreed to be strongly desirable. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Institute of Geodesy
CRC 1464: Relativistic and Quantum-Based Geodesy (TerraQ)
External Organisation(s)
Observatoire de Paris (OBSPARIS)
Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES)
Technical University of Munich (TUM)
TU Wien (TUW)
University of Strasbourg
Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences
Observatoire Côte d'Azur
University of Bern
Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB)
National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN)
Chalmers University of Technology
European Space Operation Center (ESOC)
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - German Research Centre for Geosciences
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
ETH Zurich
HE Space Operations
University of Liege
University of Twente
Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP)
Laboratory of Space Geophysical and Oceanographic Studies (LEGOS)
Universite de Toulouse
Earth, planets and space
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Geology, Space and Planetary Science
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open) (Access: Open)