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Passive ground-based optical techniques for monitoring the on-orbit ICESat-2 altimeter geolocation and footprint diameter
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  • Lori A. Magruder,
  • Kelly Brunt,
  • Thomas Neumann,
  • Bradley Klotz,
  • Michael Alonzo
Lori A. Magruder
University of Texas at Austin

Corresponding Author:magruder@arlut.utexas.edu

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Kelly Brunt
University of Maryland, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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Thomas Neumann
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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Bradley Klotz
University of Texas at Austin
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Michael Alonzo
University ofTexas at Austin
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NASA launched its second Earth observing laser altimeter in 2018 with mission objectives of studying the changes in our climate by monitoring global elevations, particularly in the polar regions. Since the mission is focused on generating accurate elevations and elevation change, the geolocation (or geodetic position) of the measurements are of upmost importance to each of the scientific disciplines supported by these observations. Geolocation validation is required to ensure that the mission is meeting its objectives with the appropriate level of geolocation accuracy. One validation technique uses small optical reflectors placed in a specific pattern along one or more satellite ground-tracks. The optics provide a unique signal back to the satellite that can be used to compare the geolocation of these returns in the data to the known position on the surface. Results of the position comparison indicate the measurement locations are accurate to within 3.5 m with a standard deviation of 1.6 m. They also provide a method for determining a representative footprint diameter using geometric analysis, which resulted in an average value of 10.9 m ±2.1 m.