Articles | Volume 31, issue 5
Regular paper
22 May 2013
Regular paper |  | 22 May 2013

High-precision measurement of satellite range and velocity using the EISCAT radar

J. Markkanen, T. Nygrén, M. Markkanen, M. Voiculescu, and A. Aikio

Abstract. This paper is a continuation of an earlier work by Nygrén et al. (2012), where the velocity of a hard target was determined from a set of echo pulses reflected by the target flying through the radar beam. Here the method is extended to include the determination of range at a high accuracy. The method is as follows. First, the flight time of the pulse from the transmitter to the target is determined at an accuracy essentially better than the accuracy given by the sampling interval. This method makes use of the fact that the receiver filtering creates slopes at the phase flips of the phase modulated echo pulse. A precise flight time is found by investigating the echo amplitude within this slope. A value of velocity is calculated from each echo pulse as explained in the earlier paper. Next, the ranges together with velocities from a single beam pass are combined to a measurement vector for a linear inversion problem. The solution of the inversion problem gives the time-dependent range and velocity from the time interval of satellite flight through the radar beam. The method is demonstrated using the EISCAT (European Incoherent Scatter) UHF radar and radio pulses reflected by a satellite. The achieved standard deviations of range are about 5–50 cm and those of velocity are about 3–25 mm s−1.