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Accuracy of Estimating Solar Radiation Pressure for GEO Debris with Tumbling Effect

Chao, Chia-chun George1
Affiliation data not available1

Document details

Publishing year2009 PublisherESA Publishing typeConference Name of conference5th European Conference on Space Debris
Pagesn/a Volume
H. Lacoste


The accuracy of estimating solar radiation pressure for GEO debris is examined and demonstrated, via numerical simulations, by fitting a batch (months) of simulated position vectors. These simulated position vectors are generated from a "truth orbit" with added white noise using high-precision numerical integration tools. After the long-arc fit of the simulated observations (position vectors), one can accurately and reliably determine how close the estimated value of solar radiation pressure is to the truth. Results of this study show that the inherent accuracy in estimating the solar radiation pressure coefficient can be as good as 1% if a long-arc fit span up to 180 days is used and the satellite is not tumbling. The corresponding position prediction accuracy can be as good as, in maximum error, 1 km along in-track, 0.3 km along radial and 0.1 km along cross-track up to 30 days. Similar accuracies can be expected when the object is tumbling as long as the rate of attitude change is different from the orbit rate. Results of this study reveal an important phenomenon that the solar radiation pressure significantly affects the orbit motion when the spin rate is equal to the orbit rate.