Dynamic positioning configuration and its first-order optimization

Shuqiang Xue, Yuanxi Yang, Yamin Dang, Wu Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Traditional geodetic network optimization deals with static and discrete control points. The modern space geodetic network is, on the other hand, composed of moving control points in space (satellites) and on the Earth (ground stations). The network configuration composed of these facilities is essentially dynamic and continuous. Moreover, besides the position parameter which needs to be estimated, other geophysical information or signals can also be extracted from the continuous observations. The dynamic (continuous) configuration of the space network determines whether a particular frequency of signals can be identified by this system. In this paper, we employ the functional analysis and graph theory to study the dynamic configuration of space geodetic networks, and mainly focus on the optimal estimation of the position and clock-offset parameters. The principle of the D-optimization is introduced in the Hilbert space after the concept of the traditional discrete configuration is generalized from the finite space to the infinite space. It shows that the D-optimization developed in the discrete optimization is still valid in the dynamic configuration optimization, and this is attributed to the natural generalization of least squares from the Euclidean space to the Hilbert space. Then, we introduce the principle of D-optimality invariance under the combination operation and rotation operation, and propose some D-optimal simplex dynamic configurations: (1) (Semi) circular configuration in 2-dimensional space; (2) the D-optimal cone configuration and D-optimal helical configuration which is close to the GPS constellation in 3-dimensional space. The initial design of GPS constellation can be approximately treated as a combination of 24 D-optimal helixes by properly adjusting the ascending node of different satellites to realize a so-called Walker constellation. In the case of estimating the receiver clock-offset parameter, we show that the circular configuration, the symmetrical cone configuration and helical curve configuration are still D-optimal. It shows that the given total observation time determines the optimal frequency (repeatability) of moving known points and vice versa, and one way to improve the repeatability is to increase the rotational speed. Under the Newton's law of motion, the frequency of satellite motion determines the orbital altitude. Furthermore, we study three kinds of complex dynamic configurations, one of which is the combination of D-optimal cone configurations and a so-called Walker constellation composed of D-optimal helical configuration, the other is the nested cone configuration composed of n cones, and the last is the nested helical configuration composed of n orbital planes. It shows that an effective way to achieve high coverage is to employ the configuration composed of a certain number of moving known points instead of the simplex configuration (such as D-optimal helical configuration), and one can use the D-optimal simplex solutions or D-optimal complex configurations in any combination to achieve powerful configurations with flexile coverage and flexile repeatability. Alternately, how to optimally generate and assess the discrete configurations sampled from the continuous one is discussed. The proposed configuration optimization framework has taken the well-known regular polygons (such as equilateral triangle and quadrangular) in two-dimensional space and regular polyhedrons (regular tetrahedron, cube, regular octahedron, regular icosahedron, or regular dodecahedron) into account. It shows that the conclusions made by the proposed technique are more general and no longer limited by different sampling schemes. By the conditional equation of D-optimal nested helical configuration, the relevance issues of GNSS constellation optimization are solved and some examples are performed by GPS constellation to verify the validation of the newly proposed optimization technique. The proposed technique is potentially helpful in maintenance and quadratic optimization of single GNSS of which the orbital inclination and the orbital altitude change under the precession, as well as in optimally nesting GNSSs to perform global homogeneous coverage of the Earth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-143
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geodesy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014


  • Cone
  • Geodetic network
  • Helix
  • Hilbert space
  • Optimization design
  • Positioning configuration
  • Walker constellation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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