Modeling Ground Sensor Acquisitions of Low Earth Orbit Objects

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Title: Modeling Ground Sensor Acquisitions of Low Earth Orbit Objects
Author: Bjerkaas, James Kevin
Advisors: Thom J. Hodgson, Committee Chair
Russell E. King, Committee Member
James R. Wilson, Committee Member
Abstract: The United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) utilizes a sensor network to accomplish several of its missions. These missions include missile defense, missile warning, intelligence collection, and space surveillance. For the task of space surveillance, the locations of all man-made satellites, as well as debris formed by the collisions of these satellites, is of great interest to the United States. Previous work has focused on assigning the various sensors in the sensor network to the separate tasks required. This thesis focuses on developing a simulation to learn more about the dynamic interactions between the sensors and the constantly moving orbiting field of satellites and debris. The stochastic model developed shows over time what happens to the knowledge of the objects in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) when the sensors assigned to tracking their progress are changed. When sensors are reassigned from space surveillance to another task, the simulation exhibits a transient period where the state of the system adjusts to the new sensor coverage. Similarly, when a sensor is added to the task of space surveillance, a transient period occurs while the system adjusts to the new sensor. This transient information can be used by decision makers as a tool in scheduling sensors to these various tasks, and can also be used to help refine heuristic methods developed previously in addressing this scheduling problem.
Date: 2010-04-20
Degree: MS
Discipline: Operations Research

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