Post-Maneuver Orbit Determination from Multi-Sensor Analysis of Plumes (PODMAP)

Period of Performance: 05/30/2012 - 03/01/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Spectral Sciences, Inc.
4 Fourth Avenue Array
Burlington, MA 01803
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: Spectral Sciences, Inc., and subcontractor Pacific Defense Solutions (PDS), LLC propose a Post-Maneuver Orbit Determination from Multi-Sensor Analysis of Plumes (PODMAP) system, consisting of a thrust vector inversion algorithm that produces post-maneuver orbital elements from wide field of view plume imagery and plume photometry. The Phase I effort focuses on post-maneuver orbit determination of a GEO insertion burn using a solid rocket motor (SRM). A unique empirical SRM plume model is validated with existing field data of SRM insertion burns, and integrated in scene generation software, to produce a synthetic dataset to train the orbit determination algorithm. Image processing will be developed that extracts projected thrust vector, delta-v, and total impulse from the image data from which a new orbit and the space vehicle mass can be estimated. An innovative multi-sensor concept is proposed that extracts the three dimensional thrust vector and delta-v for higher accuracy orbit determination. A Multiple Model Adaptive Estimation (MMAE) data fusion approach is proposed to further refine the thrust vector estimates. The effort combines the SSI expertise in plume signatures, image processing, and remote sensing with the precision orbit determination, data fusion, and space sensing expertise of PDS. BENEFIT: A successful PODMAP system will generate post-maneuver orbital elements of newly inserted spacecraft in GEO in near real time. This will provide early warning of nefarious intentions to military satellite operators, and can generate collision avoidance warnings to all GEO satellite operators for the case of a failed insertion, for example due to an aborted burn. A successful Phase I project will result in a quantitative assessment of the limiting accuracy of a fast post-maneuver orbit determination algorithm, PODMAP, for SRM GEO insertions using existing SSN and AF research sensors. A successful algorithm in conjunction with effective sensing will determine within seconds after the maneuver what the targeted GEO resident position is, and/or whether it may present a collision hazard to US or other assets.