Fast integration of low orbiter's trajectory perturbed by the earth's non-sphericity

Chein-way Hwang*, M. J. Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A fast algorithm is proposed to integrate the trajectory of a low orbiter perturbed by the earth's non-sphericity. The algorithm uses a separation degree to define the low-degree and the high-degree acceleration components, the former computed rigorously, and the latter interpolated from gridded accelerations. An FFT method is used to grid the accelerations. An optimal grid type for the algorithm depends on the trajectory's permissible error, speed, and memory capacity. Using the non-spherical accelerations computed from EGM96 to harmonic degree 360, orbit integrations were performed for a low orbiter at an altitude of 170 km. For a separation degree of 50, the new algorithm, together with the predict-pseudo correct method, speeds up the integration by 145 times compared to the conventional algorithm while keeping the errors in position and velocity below 10 -4 and 10 -7 m/s for a 3-day arc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-585
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Geodesy
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1998


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