Absolute Orientation of Satellite Triangulation

  1. Soren W. Henriksen,
  2. Armando Mancini and
  3. Bernard H. Chovitz
  1. Angel A. Baldini

Published Online: 15 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM015p0019

The Use of Artificial Satellites for Geodesy

The Use of Artificial Satellites for Geodesy

How to Cite

Baldini, A. A. (1972) Absolute Orientation of Satellite Triangulation, in The Use of Artificial Satellites for Geodesy (eds S. W. Henriksen, A. Mancini and B. H. Chovitz), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM015p0019

Author Information

  1. Research Institute, U.S. Army Engineer Topographic Laboratories, Fort Belvoir, Virginia 22060

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1972

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900155

Online ISBN: 9781118663646



  • Astronomic station coordinates;
  • Geograv system;
  • Least squares solution;
  • Satellite triangulation;
  • Station geocentric latitude and longitude


A satellite is photographed against a star background simultaneously from several camera sites. From absolute satellite topocentric directions, derived from the photographs, and known astronomic station positions, the satellite event is reduced to a geograv coordinate system with an origin close to the earth's center of mass and axes parallel to the sidereal system. The satellite directions being known, the stations are then also reduced to this system. The directions of plumb lines are tilted to determine, to a close approximation, the earth's center of mass. A minimum of two satellite positions is required for fixing the stations to this system. The elapsed period of time between two photographs can be as short as a few seconds or as long as many hours or days. A number of systems can be combined to get a closer approximation of the earth's center of mass. This theory can also be applied to the moon, asteroids, and certain natural satellites of planets.