Skip to main content

Precise positioning of spacecrafts by multi-frequency VLBI


Multi-Frequency VLBI (MFV) is one of the most powerful methods for precise positioning of spacecrafts. The system transmits three carrier waves at S-band and one wave at X-band. These frequencies are set to resolve the cycle ambiguity of carrier wave at X-band from two group delays between carrier waves and one phase delay of the carrier wave at S-band. The procedure to resolve the cycle ambiguity is proposed in this article. Some conditions about frequency variation and prediction of position and the ionosphere are also clarified for resolving the cycle ambiguity. The dedicated recording system for MFV is developed. A preliminary observation of MFV is carried out with this system by using Lunar Prospector. As a result of the experiment, residual phases from predicted ones are within ±2π, and the RMS of the residual for the period of several seconds is about 4 degrees. This result supports realization of the MFV.


  • Border, J. S., W. M. Folkner, R. D. Kahn, and K. S. Zukor, Precise Tracking of the Magellan and Pioneer Venus Orbiters by Same-Beam Interferometry, Part I: Data Accuracy Analysis, TDA progress report, 42–110, Aug. 15, 1992.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hanada, H., T. Iwata, N. Kawano, K. Heki, S. Tsuruta, T. Ishikawa, H. Araki, K. Matsumoto, Y. Kono, Y. Kaneko, M. Ogawa, Y. Iijima, Y. Koyama, M. Hosokawa, T. Miyazaki, N. Namiki, A. Sengoku, Y. Fukuzaki, T. Ikeda, F. Fuke, and RISE group, Observation system of radio sources on the Moon by VLBI in SELENE project, Proceedings of the International Workshop on GEMSTONE, Jun., 25–28, 126–130, 1999.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hatch, R. R., The synergism of GPS code and carrier measurements, Proc. 3rd Int. Symp. on Satellite Doppler Positioning, New Mexico, 8–12, Feb., 1213–1231, 1982.

  • Honma, M., T. Oyama, K. Hachisuka, S. Sawada-Satoh, K. Sebata, M. Miyoshi, O. Kameya, S. Manabe, N. Kawaguchi, T. Sasao, S. Kameno, K. Fujisawa, K. Shibata, T. Bushimata, T. Miyaji, H. Kobayashi, M. Inoue, H. Imai, H. Araki, H. Hanada, K. Iwadate, Y. Kaneko, S. Kuji, K. Sato, S. Tsuruta, S. Sakai, Y. Tamura, K. Horiai, T. Hara, K. Yokoyama, J. Nakajima, E. Kawai, H. Okubo, H. Osaki, Y. Koyama, M. Sekido, T. Suzuyama, R. Ichikawa, T. Kondo, K. Sakai, K. Wada, N. Harada, N. Tougou, M. Fujishita, R. Shimizu, S. Kawaguchi, A. Yoshimura, M. Nakamura, W. Hasegawa, S. Morisaki, R. Kamohara, T. Funaki, N. Ya-mashita, T. Watanabe, T. Shimoikura, M. Nishio, T. Omodaka, and A. Okudaira, J-Net Galactic Plane Survey of VLBI Radio Sources for VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry (VERA), Publ. Astron. Soc. Japan, 52, 631–643, 2000.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Iwata, T., M. Takahashi, N. Namiki, H. Hanada, N. Kawano, K. Heki, K. Matsumoto, and T. Takano, Mission instruments for lunar gravity measurements using SELENE sub-satellites, Journal of the Geodetic Society of Japan, 47, 1, 558–563, 2001.

    Google Scholar 

  • Matumoto, K, K. Heki, and H. Hanada, Global lunar gravity field recovery from SELENE, IVS 2002 General Meeting Proceedings, edited by N. R. Vandenberg and K. D. Baver, NASA/CP-2002-210002.

  • Sagdeyev, R. Z., V. V. Kerzhanovitch, L. R. Kogan, V. I. Kostenko, V. M. Linkin, L. I. Matveyenko, R. R. Nazirov, S. V. Pogrebenko, I. A. Struckov, R. A. Preston, J. Purcel, C. E. Hildebrand, V. A. Grishmanovskiy, A. N. Kozlov, E. P. Molotov, J. E. Blamont, L. Boloh, G. Laurans, P. Kaufmann, J. Galt, F. Biraud, A. Boischot, A. Ortega-Molina, C. Rosolen, G. Petit, P. G. Mezger, R. Schwartz, B. O. Ronnang, R. E. Spencer, G. Nicolson, A. E. E. Rogers, M. H. Cohen, R. M. Martiroysan, I. G. Moiseyev, and J. S. Jatskiv, Differential VLBI measurements of the Venus atmosphere dynamics by balloons: VEGA project, Astron. and Astrophys., 254, 387–392, 1992.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tsuchiya, A. and H. Tsuji, GPS Sokuryo-no Kiso, Japan Surveying Association, 11–170, 1995 (in Japanese).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yusuke Kono.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kono, Y., Hanada, H., Jinsong, P. et al. Precise positioning of spacecrafts by multi-frequency VLBI. Earth Planet Sp 55, 581–589 (2003).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Key words

  • VLBI
  • positioning
  • spacecraft