Multi-Sensor Space Object Tracking
ABSTRACT: Space surveillance is that component of space situational assessment and protection that makes use of multisource data to track and identify space objects. Given the increasing importance of space, the need to protect space assets, and the increasing number of objects in space, an automated system of tracking and maneuver detection is required to support decision makers. Such a system must deal with many challenges including a data starved environment, nonlinear and non-conservative forces with uncertain parameters, long propagation times without observations, wide variability in scenario complexity from breakups to widely spaced objects, uncorrelated tracks, and fusion of radar and EO reports. To address these challenges, Numerica proposes the development of an adaptive multiple hypothesis tracking (MHT) class of algorithms in a software environment that supports rapid algorithm prototyping, testing and evaluation, and object-oriented design. Such an environment will build on Numerica"s existing MHT for space surveillance by supporting and incorporating different algorithms for association, nonlinear filtering, uncertainty management, complexity reduction, and likelihood ratios, while placing an emphasis on GEO including sensor bias treatments and joint MHT and maneuver detection. The program will unify these topics under a single framework capable of solving large problems autonomously. BENEFIT: The first anticipated benefit from the proposed program will be the development of a modern and statistically robust approach to tracking space objects through the use of modern nonlinear estimation and correlation techniques. A second anticipated benefit will be the significant advance in change and maneuver detection. The combination ensures a robust system for tracking and maneuver/change detection. The key commercialization of the proposed program would be a transition of the algorithms and software, either alone or embedded in a modern multiple target tracking system, to the JSpOC Mission System, intelligence customers, or to a prime for the Space Fence such as Lockheed Martin. This program also provides the opportunity to work with other contractors and the nation's Air Force labs in support of the nation's space protection and situational assessment programs utilizing Numerica's strengths in all phases of multiple target tracking, modern control systems, sensors, sensor resource management, and situation assessment.
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