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Sensors 2016, 16(7), 962; doi:10.3390/s16070962

A Real-Time Orbit Determination Method for Smooth Transition from Optical Tracking to Laser Ranging of Debris

1
School of Geodesy and Geomatics, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
2
Collaborative Innovation Center for Geospatial Technology, Wuhan 430079, China
3
Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, Chinese Academy of Science, Shanghai 200030, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jason K. Levy
Received: 29 March 2016 / Revised: 18 June 2016 / Accepted: 20 June 2016 / Published: 24 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1857 KB, uploaded 24 June 2016]   |  

Abstract

A critical requirement to achieve high efficiency of debris laser tracking is to have sufficiently accurate orbit predictions (OP) in both the pointing direction (better than 20 arc seconds) and distance from the tracking station to the debris objects, with the former more important than the latter because of the narrow laser beam. When the two line element (TLE) is used to provide the orbit predictions, the resultant pointing errors are usually on the order of tens to hundreds of arc seconds. In practice, therefore, angular observations of debris objects are first collected using an optical tracking sensor, and then used to guide the laser beam pointing to the objects. The manual guidance may cause interrupts to the laser tracking, and consequently loss of valuable laser tracking data. This paper presents a real-time orbit determination (OD) and prediction method to realize smooth and efficient debris laser tracking. The method uses TLE-computed positions and angles over a short-arc of less than 2 min as observations in an OD process where simplified force models are considered. After the OD convergence, the OP is performed from the last observation epoch to the end of the tracking pass. Simulation and real tracking data processing results show that the pointing prediction errors are usually less than 10″, and the distance errors less than 100 m, therefore, the prediction accuracy is sufficient for the blind laser tracking. View Full-Text
Keywords: debris laser tracking; telescope pointing; angular data; orbit determination and prediction debris laser tracking; telescope pointing; angular data; orbit determination and prediction
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Li, B.; Sang, J.; Zhang, Z. A Real-Time Orbit Determination Method for Smooth Transition from Optical Tracking to Laser Ranging of Debris. Sensors 2016, 16, 962.

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