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Daniel MacMillan
Type of contribution: oral

The CONT campaigns as a precursor to VGOS observing

Daniel MacMillan NVI, Inc. at Goddard Space Flight Center

The IVS continuous (CONT) VLBI campaigns have been designed to demonstrate the highest accuracy that geodetic VLBI is capable over two-week periods of continuous observing. Scale and EOP obtained from the CONT sessions are significantly better than from the operational R1 and R4 sessions. In addition, the performance of the CONT campaigns has improved since CONT02 (October 2002). Both the wrms agreement in polar motion compared to IGS finals and the wrms of scale over the respective two-week CONT periods have improved by factors of 2-3 in CONT14 (May 2014) compared with CONT02. We investigate the factors that contribute to the superior performance of the CONTs: larger station networks, use of an identical network of stations over the observing period, and better station performance. We perform simulations to compare the performance of the most recent CONT networks with future VGOS observing, where a large global network of 20-30 stations observes continuously.