Purdue University Graduate School
PhD_Thesis_FinalVersion_SNP.pdf (7.8 MB)
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Orbital Perturbations for Space Situational Awareness

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posted on 2020-07-29, 13:17 authored by Smriti Nandan PaulSmriti Nandan Paul
Because of the increasing population of space objects, there is an increasing necessity to monitor and predict the status of the near-Earth space environment, especially of critical regions like geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) and low Earth orbit (LEO) regions, for a sustainable future. Space Situational Awareness (SSA), however, is a challenging task because of the requirement for dynamically insightful fast orbit propagation models, presence of dynamical uncertainties, and limitations in sensor resources. Since initial parameters are often not known exactly and since many SSA applications require long-term orbit propagation, long-term effects of the initial uncertainties on orbital evolution are examined in this work. To get a long-term perspective in a fast and efficient manner, this work uses analytical propagation techniques. Existing analytical theories for orbital perturbations are investigated, and modifications are made to them to improve accuracy. While conservative perturbation forces are often studied, of particular interest here is the orbital perturbation due to non-conservative forces. Using the previous findings and the developments in this thesis, two SSA applications are investigated in this work. In the first SSA application, a sensor tasking algorithm is designed for the detection of new classes of GEO space objects. In the second application, the categorization of near-GEO objects is carried out by combining knowledge of orbit dynamics with machine learning techniques.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Carolin Frueh

Additional Committee Member 2

Kathleen Howell

Additional Committee Member 3

James Longuski

Additional Committee Member 4

Inseok Hwang