Comparison of two single-step, myopic sensor management decision processes applied to Space Situational Awareness

Patrick S. Williams, David B. Spencer, Richard S. Erwin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


This paper describes a sensor tasking, or sensor network management approach for a multiobject, multi-sensor tracking problem analogous to the monitoring of resident space objects known as Space Situational Awareness (SSA). In the SSA problem large discrepancies between satellites tracked and resources available to track them create difficulties in maintaining accurate satellite position and uncertainty estimates. Long periods of either inability to make observations (due to line-of-sight access) or unavailability of sensors (due to scheduling constraints) necessitates the need to intelligently determine which satellites should be observed and which should be ignored at various times, a process known as sensor tasking. To conduct this tasking, two information theory-based utility metrics are used, where one is a measure of absolute information gain and the other a quantification of relative information gain. These metrics are implemented in a single-step optimization problem in order to maximize total information gained over a series of observations from five sensors (four ground-based, one orbiting) measuring the range and azimuth of several satellites. Using a simple simulation of the estimation and tasking components of the SSA problem, these metrics are implemented in conjunction with an extended Kalman filter or unscented Kalman filter to obtain the satellites state and uncertainty estimates. Comparisons are made between the two methods of tasking and two estimators in order to determine which combinations of filters/tasking produce the most desirable tracking performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpaceflight Mechanics 2012 - Advances in the Astronautical Sciences
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 22nd AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2012
Event22nd AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting - Charleston, SC, United States
Duration: Feb 2 2012Feb 2 2012

Publication series

NameAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
ISSN (Print)0065-3438


Other22nd AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCharleston, SC

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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