Verified regularized interval orbit propagation

Jacco Geul*, Erwin Mooij, Ron Noomen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Verified interval orbit propagation provides mathematically guaranteed solutions of satellite position and velocity over time. These verified solutions are useful for conjunction analysis and other space-situational-awareness activities. Unfortunately, verified methods suffer from overestimation and explosive interval growth, limiting the possible propagation time and thus their applicability. Different orbital-element state models have been shown to increase the maximum propagation time to a degree, but at the expense of significant overestimation introduced by the state transformations. This paper proposes the Dromo state model for verified integration. Dromo is a regularized variation-of-parameter formulation of the perturbed two-body equations of motion. Taylor models are implemented for both integration and transformation. Moreover, a technique is developed for dealing with time uncertainty resulting from verified regularized propagation. Dromo significantly prolongs the maximum forecasting window, producing verified trajectories of days up to weeks in duration for the low Earth orbit regime. A sensitivity analysis of the integrator settings identifies combinations that produce stable and computationally efficient solutions. A sensitivity study of the orbital parameters shows that the method is applicable to a large orbital regime, especially for low Earth orbit regions that contain high densities of space debris.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-731
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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