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Fachgebiet Satellitengeodäsie

Satellite Geodesy consists of the observational and computational techniques, that allow the solution of a geodetic problem by using precise measurements of artificial, mostly near-Earth, satellites (Seeber, 2002).

Further to Helmert’s definition (1880-1884), which referred to geodesy as the science of the measurement and mapping of the Earth’s surface, the objectives of satellite geodesy are mostly considered in a functional way. The main objectives in satellite geodesy are:  

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Figure 1 - GGOS missions
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1. Determination of precise global, regional and local three-dimensional positions (e.g. geodetic control network, establishment of reference frame)

2. Determination of the Earth’s gravity field and linear functions of this field (e.g. determination of a precise geoid)

3. Measurement and modeling of geodynamical phenomena (e.g. polar motion, Earth rotation, crustal deformation)

To achieving these objectives, the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) has established the Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS), which plays a key role in developing Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). GGOS contributes to the scientific and infrastructural basis for all global change research in Earth sciences, and ensures important contributions to the increasing monitoring capacity of natural disasters in order to reduce the impact of these events (Plag et al., 2009).

GGOS consists of several satellite and space geodetic techniques: Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), Satellite and Lunar Laser Ranging (SLR/LLR), Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), Doppler Orbitography and Radio positioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS), satellite altimetry, Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), gravity satellite missions, etc. (c.f. Figure 1 [3]) (http://www.ggos.org/ [4])

Figure 2 - Three pillars of Geodesy
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The main goal of GGOS is to ensure the availability of accurate, homogeneous, long-term and stable global geodetic observations and models, and to provide them to a wide range of users for various investigations on the natural or man-made environments. Its mission is to collect, archive and ensure the accessibility of geodetic observations, results and models covering the three fundamental fields of geodesy, known as the three pillars of geodesy: the Earth's shape, the Earth's gravity field, and the Earth's rotation and orientation in space; and their variations (Figure 2 [6]).

Chair of satellite geodesy, led by Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Harald Schuh has an intense collaboration with other Chairs of the Department of Geodesy and deoinfomation Science of the Technical University of Berlin, but it mainly focuses on below mentioned space geodetic techniques:

  •      VLBI [7]
  •      GNSS [8]
  •      SLR/LLR [9]
  •      Satellite altimetry [10]
  •      LEO satellites [11]
  •      DORIS [12]
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Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Harald Schuh [14]


Fachgebiet Satellitengeodäsie
Technische Universität Berlin
Institut für Geodäsie und Geoinformationstechnik
Fakultät VI
Sekr. KAI 2-2
Kaiserin-Augusta-Allee 104-106
Raum KAI 2221
10553 Berlin
+49 30 314 23203
+49 30 314 21973 (Fax)
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