Date of Award:
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
David K. Geller
David K. Geller
There are currently thousands of objects orbiting Earth, and this number is only going to increase. Larger number of satellites will require that operators have a greater knowledge of the state their assets. Electro-optical telescopes are currently being used to observe and track many of these objects. When using these telescopes to take images of satellites, they often appear as dots in the image. Depending on the surface properties of the satellite, and its orientation at a given time, the dots in the image can appear brighter or dimmer. Photometry measurements are a quantification of how bright the object appears. The time series of these photometry measurements are called light curves. The purpose of this research is to use light curves to determine the orientation (i.e. attitude), and surface reflection parameters of space object. Included in this research is the comparison of different attitude estimation algorithms, an in-depth analysis of the different variables affecting the ability to obtain accurate attitude estimates using light curves, an analysis of the benefits of using a one or two observatories to collect measurements, and the proposal and evaluation of different methods for accounting for the uncertainty in shape model reflection parameters.
Bernard, Arun J., "Attitude and Reflection Parameter Estimation of Resident Space Objects Using Ground-Based Photometry" (2021). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 8187.
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