Affiliations: Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Bologna, Via Fontanelle, Forlí, Italy | Institute of Geophysics and Meteorology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany | Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology, Onsala, Sweden | SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Borås, Sweden | European Space Agency, ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands | European Space Agency, ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany | Radiometer Physics GmbH, Meckenheim, Birkenmaarstrasse, Meckenheim, Germany
Abstract: The objective of this study, named AWARDS (Advanced microWAve Radiometers in Deep space Stations), is the preliminary design of a transmission Media Calibration System (MCS) to be located at an ESA Deep Space Antenna (DSA) site. The crucial aspect is the capability to accurately retrieve the tropospheric path delay along the line-of-sight of the deep space probe in order to allow precise tropospheric calibration of deep space observables (range and range-rate) with particular reference to the BepiColombo spacecraft and its primary DSA at Cebreros (ES). The study focuses on two main aspects which lead to the preliminary design of the Mercury Orbiter Radioscience Experiment (MORE) MCS: the characterization of current microwave radiometers (MWRs) available at ESA/ESTEC and the atmospheric fluctuation effects on the MCS error budget, in terms of the Allan standard deviation (ASD). In the course of the study, further critical aspects have been identified (effects of Sun contamination, effects of ground noise emission), and mitigation strategies have been proposed. The final outcome is a preliminary design of the MWR (and the entire MCS) to be deployed at the ESA/ESTRACK (ESA Tracking station network) sites and being compliant with MORE requirements.
Keywords: Microwave radiometer, deep space tracking, troposphere calibration