A re-analysis of the 2009 Iridium-Cosmos predicted miss distance using two-line element derived orbits

Bennett, J, Sang, J, Zhang, K and Smith, C 2013, 'A re-analysis of the 2009 Iridium-Cosmos predicted miss distance using two-line element derived orbits', in Iver Cairns, Wayne Short (ed.) 12th Australian Space Science Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 24-26 September 2012, pp. 191-200.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title A re-analysis of the 2009 Iridium-Cosmos predicted miss distance using two-line element derived orbits
Author(s) Bennett, J
Sang, J
Zhang, K
Smith, C
Year 2013
Conference name ASSC 2012
Conference location Melbourne, Australia
Conference dates 24-26 September 2012
Proceedings title 12th Australian Space Science Conference
Editor(s) Iver Cairns, Wayne Short
Publisher National Space Society of Australia
Place of publication Melbourne, Australia
Start page 191
End page 200
Total pages 10
Abstract On 2009 February 10 Iridium 33 (active) and Cosmos 2251 (inactive) collided at an altitude of 789 km which injected thousands of debris larger than 1 cm into the low-Earth orbit environment. A close approach of 584 metres was predicted before the collision but an orbit manoeuvre was not carried out. In this paper, an analysis of the miss distance prediction between the two objects is presented using the recently developed TLE-OD/OP method. The TLE-OD/OP uses multiple TLE datasets to perform an orbit determination (OD) computation and make an orbit prediction (OP) based on the OD results. The OD and OP computations consider a more complete set of forces than those in the SGP4 algorithm. The smallest close approach of 152.68 metres on February 10 at 16:55:59.92 was obtained from the TLE-OD/OP method, compared to the predicted close approach of 698.72 metres at 16:55:59.80 for SGP4. Leading up to the collision, the results show that the predictions from our method are less variable than the SGP4 propagator predictions. Finally, a method for bias correction is discussed which provides better orbit predictions using limited satellite laser ranging data.
Subjects Astronomical and Space Sciences not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Orbit determination
orbit prediction
two-line element
low-Earth orbit
bias correction
Iridium Cosmos collision
Copyright notice © 2012 National Committee for Space Science & National Space Society of Australia
ISBN 9780977574063
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