Assessment of Post-Manoeuvre Observation Correlation Using Short-Arc Tracklets

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J. A. Siminski et al. (2017), JBIS, 70, pp.63-68

Refcode: 2017.70.63
Keywords: Short-arc problem, tracklet association, manoeuvres

Satellites maintain or establish their operational orbit by performing impulsive or continuous thrust manoeuvres. When cataloguing resident space objects, these rapid or slow orbital changes complicate a successful correlation. The new orbit remains uncertain and cannot be used for operations such as conjunction detection. This work outlines and assesses a method for the correlation of optical tracklets to already catalogued objects and the following orbit recovery. For that purpose, historic orbital data is analysed to predict possible states after the manoeuvre using kernel density estimation. The resulting probability density function also provides a measure for the association likelihood of a new tracklet. The methods are tested with optical observations from the Zimmerwald observatory. Manoeuvre information and ephemerides are reported by the satellite operator and used as a reference.

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