Large-Scale Simulation of a Process for Cataloguing Small Orbital Debris Page: 3 of 11
This article is part of the collection entitled: Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports and was provided to Digital Library by the UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
Large-Scale Simulation of a Process for Cataloguing Small Orbital Debris
Don Phillion, Alex Pertica, Ben Fasenfest, Matt Horsley, Wim De Vries, H. Keo Springer,
David Jefferson, and Scot Olivier
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Pacific Defense Solutions
Air Force Maui Optical and Supercomputing Center
We demonstrate a methodology for establishing orbits for the abundant, un-catalogued, yet dangerous, small orbital
debris that will become observable with planned improvements to the Space Fence. Although roughly 15,000
orbital objects are present in the SSN catalog, it is believed that at least 200,000 objects that are massive enough to
cause significant damage are in Earth orbit. With improvements to the Space Fence, LEO debris down to 5 cm in
size may become observable. The additional hundreds of thousands of observations a day of mostly un-catalogued
objects will present a significant data processing challenge. Of particular concern are the large numbers of
observations that are uncorrelated either to a known object or to a single object. To deal with the large-scale
uncorrelated track (UCT) problem, we have ported the Covariance-Based Track Algorithm (CBTA) into the
supercomputer-based Testbed Environment for Space Situational Awareness (TESSA) in order to perform
simulations at scale.
CBTA bins UCTs for which initial orbits and initial covariance matrices could be determined back to a common
epoch and then uses a statistical measure to see if they correlate given the state vectors and covariance matrices at
that common time. If they do, the observations from the two tracks are combined and orbit determination (OD) is
used to attempt to fit an orbit to the combined tracks. If OD converges, a new UCT hypothesis is created and the
state and covariance of that hypothesis is saved with the other pre-existing UCTs. If a certain number of tracks are
successfully combined then they are used to create a new catalog object. Old UCTs are weeded out of the pool of
hypotheses when they become obsolete, or when at least some of the observations are used to create a new catalog
For the simulation, we developed a Radar detection model simulating the performance of a notional new Space
Fence. We propagated thousands of objects over a several day period creating a large number of observations. The
methodology that we employed first attempts to match tracks to known orbits using an orbit determination process.
Most of the observations cannot be correlated to known orbits and these are routed to the CBTA. We will report on
the efficiency with which this hybrid process is able to catalog new objects and on the computational requirements
necessary to deal with the problem at scale.
Here’s what’s next.
This article can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Article.
Phillion, D; Pertica, A; Fasenfest, B; Horsley, M; de Vries, W; Springer, H et al. Large-Scale Simulation of a Process for Cataloguing Small Orbital Debris, article, September 9, 2010; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc865110/m1/3/: accessed February 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.