Purdue University Graduate School
Curren_Masters_Thesis_Final.pdf (15.14 MB)

Targeting Algorithm for Multi-Object Tracking with Space-Based Observers in Cislunar Space

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posted on 2023-12-10, 18:07 authored by Dan CurrenDan Curren

With the increase in planned space missions in cislunar space, it is necessary to study the ability of observers to observe and track objects in this regime. This thesis focuses on creating a sensor tasking algorithm for constellations of optical observers to efficiently observe cislunar objects. The circular restricted three body problem is used for the dynamics of the objects while the bi-circular restricted four body problem is used to approximate the position of the sun.

A new way of discretizing the field of regard is proposed that respects the observers field of view on the unit sphere. A method for providing feedback to the observer in a delayed feedback environment is applied to mean state, single Gaussian, and particle representations of uncertainty. The method of determining a scaling coefficient for Sanson’s probability of detection is recorded. Sanson’s probability of detection is studied for determining the correct effective aperture dimensions of an optical observer. An approximation is presented for expediting calculations of Sanson’s probability of detection. An uncertainty propagation analysis shows there is an efficient number of particles to use for particle uncertainty far below the required number for a full Monte Carlo particle uncertainty representation.

Mean state, single Gaussian and particle methods of uncertainty characterization are compared in a cislunar simulation showing the benefits of the particles solution over other forms of uncertainty characterization. Particles are not only an effective uncertainty representation in a delayed feedback environment, they are computationally feasible for the sensor tasking problem. The performance of the particle algorithm for a constellation of observers is evaluated in a simulated small satellite breakup in a Lyapunov orbit and a simulated breakup of the proposed Lunar Gateway. The performance of observers in direct retrograde, low lunar, geosynchronous, and northern Halo orbits are evaluated in the breakup simulations. Results from these simulations show that observers in low lunar and Halo orbits can be valuable observation standpoints in breakups around the near-Moon region of cislunar space.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Carolin Frueh

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Kathleen C. Howell

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Dengfeng Sun

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