Orbit Determination of Chang'e-3 and Positioning of the Lander and the Rover
Monday, 15 December 2014
The Chang’E-3 (CE-3) lunar probe of China was launched on 2 December 2013. After about 112 h of flight, it was captured by the Moon on 6 December, and entered a polar, near circular lunar orbit with an altitude of approximately 100 km. The probe’s flight on 100 km*100 km and 100 km*15 km orbit lasted about 4 days respectively, then the probe soft landed on the east of Sinus Iridum area at 13:11 UTC on 14 December successfully. Results on precision orbit determination and positioning of the lander and the rover are presented here. We describe the data, modeling and methods used to achieve position knowledge. In addition to the radiometric X-band range and Doppler tracking data, Delta Differential One-way Ranging (ΔDOR) data are also used in the calculation, which shows that they can improve the accuracy of the orbit reconstruction. Total position overlap differences are about 20 m and 30 m for the 100 km*100 km and 100 km*15 km lunar orbit respectively, increased by ~50 % with respect to CE-2. A kinematic statistical method is applied to determine the position of the lander and relative position of the rover with respect to the lander. The location of the lander is computed as: 44.1216º N, 19.5124º W and -2632.0 m in the lunar Mean Axes coordinate system. The position difference of the lander is better than 50 m compared to the result of the LRO photograph. From 15 to 21 December, the rover walked around the lander, and took photos of each other at the parking point A, B, C, D, E (max distance from the lander is about 25 m). The delta VLBI phase delay data are used to compute the relative position of the rover at the parking points, and the accuracy of the relative position can reach to 1-2 m comparing with the results of visual method.