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Huan Zhou
Type of contribution: poster

Spacecraft VLBI Phase Referencing Tracking with the Chinese VLBI Network and Deep Space Network

Huan Zhou, Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications Technology DeZhen Xu, Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications Technology HaiTao Li, Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications Technology GuangLiang Dong, Beijing Institute of Tracking and Telecommunications Technology

VLBI phase referencing widely used for quasar observation can also be applied to track spacecraft. It can provide a much more accurate angular location of the spacecraft in the plane-of-sky than conventional VLBI tracking methods. However, a large number of antennas are usually required. Our work focus on the feasibility analysis of spacecraft VLBI phase referencing tracking with the Chinese VLBI Network (CVN) and Deep Space Network (CDSN). The CVN is made up of 5 telescopes located at Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming and Urumqi. The CDSN is still under construction. Two deep space stations, the Kashi 35m and the Jiamusi 66m, just come into service. Another one in Argentina will work two years later. Because at least one of the deep space stations should keep tracking the spacecraft for data transmission and offering ranging and Doppler measurements, only 5 or 6 antennas are now available for VLBI phase referencing observation, which is not enough to determine the spacecraft position without ambiguities during a short interval. To solve this problem, a novel observation scheme is proposed. Simulations using the measurement data from the Cassini Saturn probe and some preliminary results from the tracking experiments conducted with China’s first lunar rover are presented, which demonstrates the validity of the new scheme and renders a new high-accuracy application of the worldwide VLBI antennas in future deep space exploration.