Interferometric Observations of an Artificial Satellite

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Science  27 Oct 1972:
Vol. 178, Issue 4059, pp. 407-409
DOI: 10.1126/science.178.4059.407


Very-long-baseline interferometric observations of radio signals from the TACSAT synchronous satellite, even though extending over only 7 hours, have enabled an excellent orbit to be deduced. Precision in differenced delay and delay-rate measurements reached 0.15 nanosecond (∼ 5 centimeters in equivalent differenced distance) and 0.05 picosecond per second (∼ 0.002 centimeter per second in equivalent differenced velocity), respectively. The results from this initial three-station experiment demonstrate the feasibility of using the method for accurate satellite tracking and for geodesy. Comparisons are made with other techniques.