Analysis of laser ranges and angular measurements data fusion for space debris orbit determination

Cordelli, E.; Vananti, A.; Schildknecht, T. (2020). Analysis of laser ranges and angular measurements data fusion for space debris orbit determination. Advances in space research, 65(1), pp. 419-434. Elsevier 10.1016/j.asr.2019.11.009

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In the framework of space debris, the orbit determination process is a fundamental step, both, for researchers and for satellite operators. The accurate knowledge of the orbit of space debris objects is needed to allow space debris characterization studies and to avoid unnecessary collision avoidance maneuvers.

The accuracy of the results of an orbit determination process depends on several factors as the number, the accuracy, the kind of processed measurements, their distribution along the orbit, and the object-observer relative geometry. When the observation coverage of the target orbit is not homogeneous, the accuracy of the orbit determination can be improved processing different kind of observables. Recent studies showed that the satellite laser ranging technique can be successfully applied to space debris.

In this paper, we will investigate the benefits of using laser ranges and angular measurements for the orbit determination process. We will analyze the influence of the number of used observations, of the covered arc of orbit, of each observable, and of the observation geometry on the estimated parameters. Finally, using data acquired on short observation arcs, we analyze the achievable accuracies for the orbital regimes with the highest space debris density, and to the consequences of the data fusion on catalog maintenance operations. The results shown are obtained using only real data (both angular and laser measurements) provided by sensors of the Swiss Optical Ground Station and Geodynamics Observatory Zimmerwald owned by the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern (AIUB) and for some studies also using ranges provided from other stations of the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Astronomy

UniBE Contributor:

Cordelli, Emiliano, Vananti, Alessandro, Schildknecht, Thomas


500 Science > 520 Astronomy








Alessandro Vananti

Date Deposited:

26 Jan 2021 10:49

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:44

Publisher DOI:





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