Abstract We propose a Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) precision evaluation method for probe delay measurement, so as to investigate the error contributions from different components in the Chinese VLBI Network (CVN). This method takes the idea of traditional closure delay analysis for distant radio sources. It focuses on the VLBI closure delay only and therefore excludes the influence of probe orbit determination, which makes it very suitable to evaluate the capability of VLBI probe delay measurement. In this paper, we first introduce the principles of closure delay analysis. Then the statistical results of typical CE5 (Chinese Chang’e 5 lunar exploration mission) and HX1 (Chinese Mars exploration mission) observations are presented, including the comparison of the closure delay precisions between CE5 and HX1 for four closed baseline triangles in CVN. According to the result, we realize that the precision discrepancy between CE5 and HX1 in the closure delay analysis is less than that of residual delay after orbit determination, which reflects the precision level of the VLBI delay measurement.
Keywords Very long baseline interferometers – Astronomy data analysis – Space probes
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