Planetary Radio Interferometry and Doppler Experiment (PRIDE) of the JUICE Mission

Leonid I. Gurvits*, Giuseppe Cimò, Dominic Dirkx, Vidhya Pallichadath, Nicolas Altobelli, Tatiana M. Bocanegra-Bahamon, Stéphanie M. Cazaux, Bert L.A. Vermeersen, Pieter N.A.M. Visser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Planetary Radio Interferometry and Doppler Experiment (PRIDE) is a multi-purpose experimental technique aimed at enhancing the science return of planetary missions. The technique exploits the science payload and spacecraft service systems without requiring a dedicated onboard instrumentation or imposing on the existing instrumentation any special for PRIDE requirements. PRIDE is based on the near-field phase-referencing Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) and evaluation of the Doppler shift of the radio signal transmitted by spacecraft by observing it with multiple Earth-based radio telescopes. The methodology of PRIDE has been developed initially at the Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC (JIVE) for tracking the ESA’s Huygens Probe during its descent in the atmosphere of Titan in 2005. From that point on, the technique has been demonstrated for various planetary and other space science missions. The estimates of lateral position of the target spacecraft are done using the phase-referencing VLBI technique. Together with radial Doppler estimates, these observables can be used for a variety of applications, including improving the knowledge of the spacecraft state vector. The PRIDE measurements can be applied to a broad scope of research fields including studies of atmospheres through the use of radio occultations, the improvement of planetary and satellite ephemerides, as well as gravity field parameters and other geodetic properties of interest, and estimations of interplanetary plasma properties. This paper presents the implementation of PRIDE as a component of the ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number79
Number of pages41
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2023


The authors express their gratitude to the reviewers and editors for very useful comments, corrections and suggestions. The observing examples shown in this paper for PRIDE-style tracking of various spacecraft are based on observations conducted with the European VLBI Network (EVN), the AuScope facility, and the Long Baseline Array (LBA), and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA). The EVN is a joint facility of independent European, African, Asian, and North American radio astronomy institutes. The AuScope involvement in the presented here observations was enabled by Geoscience Australia and the Australian Government via the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). The LBA is operated as a National Facility, and managed by CSIRO and the University of Tasmania. The VLBA is an instrument of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities. We are grateful to the ESA personnel for supporting PRIDE observations of the Mars Express and BepiColombo missions. We gratefully acknowledge the VLBI database of the Astrogeo Center maintained by Leonid Petrov (NASA GSFC) and his comments on the contents of the current paper. We thank Chris Phillips (CASS) for supporting PRIDE test observations at the Mopra radio telescope. J.F., S.F., and K.P. acknowledge the ESA PRODEX support (project PEA 4000136207). M.S.F acknowledges partial funding by ESA’s OSIP (Open Space Innovation Platform) program.


  • Doppler tracking
  • State vector determination
  • VLBI


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