Analysis of uncertainties and modeling in short-term reentry predictions

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Satellite reentry predictions are used to determine the time and location of impacts of decaying objects. These predictions are complicatedby uncertainties in the initial state and environment models, and the complex evolution of the attitude. Typically, the aerodynamic and error propagation are done in a simplistic fashion. Full six-degrees-of-freedom modeling and attitude control is proposed for studying the historic reentry case of the Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer satellite. Improved error modeling and estimation of the initial state and atmospheric density are introduced for both Global Positioning System and two-line elements states. A sensitivity analysis is performed to identify the driving parameters for several models and epochs. The predictions are compared against Tracking And Impact Predictions, and predictions by the European Space Agency Space Debris Office. The performed predictions are consistently closer to the true decay epoch for several starting epochs, while providing narrower windows than other predictions with higher confidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1276-1289
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

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