Journal of Astronautics ›› 2017, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (6): 605-611.doi: 10.3873/j.issn.1000-1328.2017.06.007

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New VLBI Method for Relative Position Determination Between Deep Space Probes Using Single Baseline

CHEN Yong qiang, ZHOU Huan, LI Wei, QU Ming   

  1. 1. Xi’an Satellite Control Center, Xi’an 710043, China;
     2. Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications Technology, Beijing 100094, China
  • Received:2016-06-23 Revised:2016-09-25 Online:2017-06-15 Published:2017-06-25


In view of the current situation that the deep space stations are few in Chinese Deep Space Network (CDSN), the long time tracking and the need of high precision of spacecraft relative positioning, a method based on the phase reference imaging technique for the relative position determination between deep space probes using a single baseline is proposed in this paper. This method takes advantage of the improved UV coverage generated by the long observation intervals of the CDSN in deep space missions, and can achieve a high-accuracy angular separation determination with just a single baseline. Experiments with the Chang’e-3 lander have been conducted using the two available deep space stations, Jiamusi and Kashi, to verify the validity of the new method. The relative angular position between the high gain antenna and the low gain antenna of the lander has been determined with an accuracy better than 0.5 mas, indicating it’s possible to acquire the high-accuracy VLBI measurements with just a single baseline. This study may provide good references for the radio interferometry in future deep space explorations.

Key words: Deep space exploration, Chang’e 3, Very long baseline interferometry (VLBI), Phase referencing imaging, Relative position determination

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