Improved tracklet association for space objects using short-arc optical measurements

Cai, H, Yang, Y, Gehly, S, Wu, S and Zhang, K 2018, 'Improved tracklet association for space objects using short-arc optical measurements', Acta Astronautica, vol. 151, pp. 836-847.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Improved tracklet association for space objects using short-arc optical measurements
Author(s) Cai, H
Yang, Y
Gehly, S
Wu, S
Zhang, K
Year 2018
Journal name Acta Astronautica
Volume number 151
Start page 836
End page 847
Total pages 12
Publisher Pergamon Press
Abstract Initial orbit determination (IOD) for space objects is challenging, especially in the case where only optical observations, i.e. angles-only observations, are available and the optical observing arcs are very short (i.e. the too-short arc (TSA) problem). One approach to address the TSA problem is to associate several short-arc tracklets to targets across varying time intervals. In order to achieve better association and run-time performance, this study proposes an improvement to the traditional initial value problem (IVP) solution that determines the association by searching for the global minimum of a new loss function defined in a nonsingular canonical space. The improved IVP method was validated using optical data of space objects at different altitudes collected from the Mount Stromlo Observatory and compared with traditional IVP and another popular tracklet association method: the boundary value problem (BVP) approach. Results illustrate that the improved IVP method is superior to IVP and BVP in terms of association performance, and it also achieves good run-time performance. In addition, traditional methods suffer the drawback of incorrectly associating tracklets from different objects in the same constellation. A new approach dubbed the common ellipse method is presented to address this issue. The common ellipse method is tested with 86 Iridium constellation tracklets, and results show that it significantly improves the true negative rate for the tested scenario.
Subject Aerodynamics (excl. Hypersonic Aerodynamics)
Keyword(s) Tracklet association
admissible region
initial value problem
boundary value problem
constellation tracklets
DOI - identifier 10.1016/j.actaastro.2018.07.024
Copyright notice © 2018 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of IAA
ISSN 0094-5765
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