The purpose of satellite-to-satellite tracking (SST) and/or satellite gravity gradiometry (SGG) is to determine the gravitational field on and outside the Earth's surface from given gradients of the gravitational potential and/or the gravitational field at satellite altitude. In this paper both satellite techniques are analysed and characterized from mathematical point of view. Uniqueness results are formulated. The justification is given for approximating the external gravitational field by finite linear combination of certain gradient fields (for example, gradient fields of single-poles or multi-poles) consistent to a given set of SGG and/or SST data. A strategy of modelling the gravitational field from satellite data within a multiscale concept is described; illustrations based on the EGM96 model are given.
The purpose of GPS-satellite-to-satellite tracking (GPS-SST) is to determine the gravitational potential at the earth's surface from measured ranges (geometrical distances) between a low-flying satellite and the high-flying satellites of the Global Posittioning System (GPS). In this paper GPS-satellite-to-satellite tracking is reformulated as the problem of determining the gravitational potential of the earth from given gradients at satellite altitude. Uniqueness and stability of the solution are investigated. The essential tool is to split the gradient field into a normal part (i.e. the first order radial derivative) and a tangential part (i.e. the surface gradient). Uniqueness is proved for polar, circular orbits corresponding to both types of data (first radial derivative and/or surface gradient). In both cases gravity recovery based on satellite-to-satellite tracking turns out to be an exponentially ill-posed problem. As an appropriate solution method regularization in terms of spherical wavelets is proposed based on the knowledge of the singular system. Finally, the extension of this method is generalized to a non-spherical earth and a non-spherical orbital surface based on combined terrestrial and satellite data material.