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VLBI observation of narrow bandwidth signals from the spacecraft


We carried out a series of VLBI observations of Nozomi by using a dedicated narrow bandwidth VLBI system. The three carrier waves with frequency interval of 515 kHz were recorded in 3 channels of the system and correlated by a software method. As a result of the correlation, the residual fringe phases of the main carrier wave are obtained for every 1.3 seconds. We can also continuously track them for 100 minutes. The variation of the residual fringe phase is +/− 150 degrees. Moreover, we can derive succesively the group delay for every 100 seconds by using these three carrier waves. The RMS of the group delays is 13 nsec and its average is well accorded with the delay determined by the range and Doppler measurements within an error of 2 nsec. Consequently, we confirmed the validity of the narrow bandwidth VLBI system, and it could be expected that this system, in addition to range and Doppler measurements, can be applied to three-dimensional tracking of a spacecraft and the precise gravity measurement of the Moon and the planets.


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Correspondence to Fuyuhiko Kikuchi.

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Kikuchi, F., Kono, Y., Yoshikawa, M. et al. VLBI observation of narrow bandwidth signals from the spacecraft. Earth Planet Sp 56, 1041–1047 (2004).

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Key words

  • VLBI
  • spacecraft
  • narrow bandwidth
  • group delay