Copernicus Sentinel–1 is a C-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite mission within the European Copernicus Programme. The two satellites Sentinel-1A and -1B were launched in April 2014 and 2016, respectively. The Copernicus POD (Precise Orbit Determination) Service is responsible for the determination of orbital and auxiliary products required by the Payload Data Ground Segment (PDGS). Precise orbits are determined based on the dual-frequency GPS (Global Positioning System) data delivered by dedicated geodetic-grade GPS receivers on-board the satellites. Several updates in the operational orbit determination were done during the years including an update of the GPS antenna reference point coordinates. The switch to GPS carrier phase ambiguity-fixing was a major improvement. A reprocessing of the entire mission span of both satellites became necessary to provide a consistent orbit time series for the mission based on state-of-the-art models and processing settings. Due to the lack of independent observation techniques, the Sentinel-1 orbit quality has been assessed by analysing processing metrics, orbit overlaps and orbit comparisons. For this purpose, members of the Copernicus POD Quality Working Group (QWG) provided reprocessed Sentinel-1 orbit time series based on their software packages and their orbit determination settings. A weighted average of all five delivered solutions - a combined orbit - serves as reference for the comparisons. The quality and reliability of this reference orbit depends among others on the number of available orbit solutions and whether a manoeuvre has been performed during the processed day or not. The mean orbit consistency between all orbit solutions is below 1 cm in 3D RMS for the entire mission time interval for both satellites. Only few days show inferior quality due to data gaps or orbit manoeuvres. Following this sophisticated validation process, the reprocessed Sentinel-1 orbits from the Copernicus POD Service have been made available to the user community.
- Precise Orbit Determination