A method for perturbed initial orbit determination and correlation of radar measurements

Reihs, Benedikt; Vananti, Alessandro; Schildknecht, Thomas (2020). A method for perturbed initial orbit determination and correlation of radar measurements. Advances in space research, 66(2), pp. 426-443. Elsevier 10.1016/j.asr.2020.04.006

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The increasing number of space debris in orbit leads to a growing workload of space surveillance systems. For objects in Low Earth Orbit, radar systems have to maintain orbits of known objects and detect new ones. In case of a new detection, an initial orbit has to be estimated. This can either be done by estimating an orbit from a long single tracklet or by combining pairs of short tracklets to test if they originate from the same object, in which case they are referred to as correlated and an initial orbit is determined. This paper proposes a method for the correlation of short-arc radar tracklets under the consideration of the Earth oblateness as a perturbing force to enable correlation over longer periods of time. The results show that correlating tracklets that are up to seven days apart for LEO objects and five days for HEO is possible with the given method. The robustness of the method is further shown by using drag-affected orbits, which can also be correlated. Finally, some large scale tests confirm the applicability to large data sets. Future work will test the developed method with realistic survey scenarios.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Astronomy

UniBE Contributor:

Reihs, Benedikt; Vananti, Alessandro and Schildknecht, Thomas


500 Science > 520 Astronomy








Alessandro Vananti

Date Deposited:

26 Jan 2021 10:33

Last Modified:

26 Jan 2021 10:33

Publisher DOI:






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