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Time series prediction for satellite ballistic coefficients

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA9550-13-C-0014
Agency Tracking Number: F10B-T36-0047
Amount: $705,399.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF10-BT36
Solicitation Number: 2010.B
Solicitation Year: 2010
Award Year: 2013
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2012-12-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2014-11-30
Small Business Information
7051 Muirkirk Meadows Dv.; Suite A
Beltsville, MD -
United States
DUNS: 108990649
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Steve Casali
 Sr. Astrodynamicist
 (719) 226-1511
Business Contact
 Josh Butrin
Title: Project Manager
Phone: (719) 226-1511
Research Institution
 The University of Texas
 James Casey
3925 W. Braker Ln. Ste. 200
Austin, TX 78759-
United States

 (512) 471-7370
 Nonprofit College or University

ABSTRACT: The leading errors in computing future positions of satellites in Low Earth Orbit are generally due to inaccuracies in the thermospheric density and the prediction thereof. The use of Dynamic Calibration Atmosphere has reduced these traditional sources of error and variations seen in ballistic coefficients can now be attributed to unmodeled satellite frontal area changes. When the orbit of a satellite needs to be predicted, a value is assumed. The assumed value of the ballistic coefficient will cause the predicted orbit to be in error. Hence, considerable improvement in the quality of orbit prediction can be achieved by reducing that error. The ballistic coefficient for prediction is usually obtained from the estimated value prior to the prediction. Instead of assuming the previous estimated value, an analysis of the time series of a history of the estimated values may reveal some characteristics which then can be used to minimize prediction error. BENEFIT: The Phase II effort will result in a software toolset that will improve ballistic coefficient modeling resulting in enhanced orbit prediction. This is of particular benefit to the conjunction assessment mission, improving warning and risk mitigation timelines and accuracy. The toolset will be made available to satellite owner/operators, commercial foreign entities and the defense community. Additionally, the toolset may be provided as a plug-in for commercial software applications such as STK and FreeFlyer.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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