Purdue University Graduate School
FanSiwei_thesis_final_2c.pdf (30.03 MB)

The Light Curve Simulation and Its Inversion Problem for Human-Made Space Objects

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posted on 2020-08-03, 14:42 authored by Siwei FanSiwei Fan
Shape and attitude of near-Earth objects directly affect the orbit propagation via drag and solar radiation pressure. Obtaining information beyond the object states (position and velocity) is integral to identifying an object. It also enables tracing origin and can improve the orbit accuracy. For objects that have a significant distance to the observer, only non-resolved imaging is available, which does not show any details of the object. So-called non-resolved light curve measurements, i.e. photometric measurements over time can be used to determined the shape of space objects using a two step inversion scheme. It follows the procedure to first determine the Extended Gaussian Image and then going through the shape reconstruction process to retrieve the closed shape even while measurement noise is present. Furthermore, it is also possible to generate high confidence candidates when follow-up observations are provided through a multi-hypotheses process.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Carolin Frueh

Additional Committee Member 2

William M. Crossley

Additional Committee Member 3

James M. Longuski

Additional Committee Member 4

Dengfeng Sun