Improved Space Object Orbit Determination Using CMOS Detectors

Silha, Jiri; Schildknecht, Thomas; Flohrer, T. (2014). Improved Space Object Orbit Determination Using CMOS Detectors. In: Proceedings of 15th AMOS Conference (pp. 67-76). Curran Associates, Inc.

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CMOS-sensors, or in general Active Pixel Sensors (APS), are rapidly replacing CCDs in the consumer camera market. Due to significant technological advances during the past years these devices start to compete with CCDs also for demanding scientific imaging applications, in particular in the astronomy community. CMOS detectors offer a series of inherent advantages compared to CCDs, due to the structure of their basic pixel cells, which each contains their own amplifier and readout electronics. The most prominent advantages for space object observations are the extremely fast and flexible readout capabilities, feasibility for electronic shuttering and precise epoch registration,and the potential to perform image processing operations on-chip and in real-time. Here, the major challenges and design drivers for ground-based and space-based optical observation strategies for objects in Earth orbit have been analyzed. CMOS detector characteristics were critically evaluated and compared with the established CCD technology, especially with respect to the above mentioned observations. Finally, we simulated several observation scenarios for ground- and space-based sensor by assuming different observation and sensor properties. We will introduce the analyzed end-to-end simulations of the ground- and spacebased strategies in order to investigate the orbit determination accuracy and its sensitivity which may result from
different values for the frame-rate, pixel scale, astrometric and epoch registration accuracies. Two cases were simulated, a survey assuming a ground-based sensor to observe objects in LEO for surveillance applications, and a statistical survey with a space-based sensor orbiting in LEO observing small-size debris in LEO. The ground-based
LEO survey uses a dynamical fence close to the Earth shadow a few hours after sunset. For the space-based scenario a sensor in a sun-synchronous LEO orbit, always pointing in the anti-sun direction to achieve optimum illumination conditions for small LEO debris was simulated.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Astronomy

UniBE Contributor:

Silha, Jiri and Schildknecht, Thomas


500 Science > 520 Astronomy




Curran Associates, Inc.




Alessandro Vananti

Date Deposited:

10 Apr 2015 16:48

Last Modified:

28 Nov 2020 02:25

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