Date of Award:

5-2020

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

David Geller

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Kohei Fujimoto

Third Advisor:

Stephen Whitmore

Abstract

Uncontrolled space objects, more commonly known as space debris, consist of dead satellites, satellite deployment packages, and lost elements of these systems such as insulation blankets. These uncontrolled objects represent hazards to our nation’s most valuable space assets which include communication satellites, weather satellites, Earth monitoring systems, and military assets. To help mitigate this problem, this research proposes using the known astrodynamics of the near geosynchronous orbit (GEO) along with the known concentration of the uncontrolled GEO objects and observation constraints to design ground-based optical surveys that will detect uncatalogued debris. Furthermore, a scoring metric is developed to evaluate the information gain from each survey.

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