Debris Attitude Motion Measurements and Modelling by Combining Different Observation Techniques

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J. Silha et al. (2017), JBIS, 70, pp.52-62

Refcode: 2017.70.52
Keywords: Space debris, attitude motion measurements, active debris removal

This work will discuss an ESA project "Debris Attitude Motion Measurements and Modeling" (ESA AO/1-7803/14/D/SR) dedicated to the attitude determination of large spacecraft and upper stages. Two major goals are defined for this project. First, the determination of the attitude motion vector in case of a contingency situation, when a short response time is required between the observations themselves and the attitude determination. The second goal is the long term prediction (e.g. 10 years) of the spin rate of selected targets for future potential Active Debris Removal (ADR) missions. The study should in particular fuse the results from passive optical, laser ranging and radar observations. We will discuss a highly modular software tool named OTA (In-Orbit Tumbling Analysis) which was developed during the presented activity. This tool performs short- (days) to longterm (years) propagations of the orbit and the attitude motion of spacecraft in Earth orbit and furthermore its post-processing modules will generate synthetic measurements, i.e. light curves, satellite laser ranging (SLR) residuals and synthetic radar images. Last but not least we will present results from a collaborative campaign when four priority targets have been selected for collaborative measurements with radar, SLR and light curves in order to test and validate the OTA tool.

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