Modern radio tracking techniques made it possible to explore the gravitational environment in the solar system up to a level of accuracy never before possible. The two principal forms of celestial mechanics experiments that were used involve planets (e.g., passive radar ranging) and Doppler and range measurements with interplanetary spacecraft [19, 29]. This work was motivated by the desire to improve the ephemerides of solar system bodies and knowledge of solar system dynamics.
The main objective of spacecraft navigation is to determine the present position and velocity of a spacecraft and to predict its future trajectory. This is usually done by measuring changes in the spacecraft’s radio signal and then, using those measurements, correcting (fitting and adjusting) the predicted spacecraft trajectory.
In this section we discuss the theoretical foundations that are used for the analysis of tracking data from interplanetary spacecraft. We describe the basic physical models used to determine a trajectory.
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