Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Richard G. Cobb, PhD.


The Air Force Institute of Technology has spent the last seven years conducting research on orbit identification and object characterization of space objects through the use of commercial-off-the-shelf hardware systems controlled via custom software routines, referred to simply as TeleTrak. Year after year, depending on the research objectives, students have added or modified the system's hardware and software to achieve their individual research objectives. In the last year, due to operating system and software upgrades, TeleTrak became inoperable. Furthermore, due to a lack of student overlap, knowledge of the basic operation of the TeleTrak deteriorated. This research re-establishes the basic understanding of the TeleTrak System and develops a plan to improve the telescope tracking controller performance. This research uses a subset of the SE process via the operational and system views to understand the tracking subsystem and develop timing tests to observe delays that could impact tracking. Basic tests revalidate and improve understanding of how the Meade telescopes interface with MATLAB. Calibration camera parameters are then refined, allowing a new technique for calibrating existing control algorithms. The analyses of the findings demonstrate that it is possible to improve the tracking controller, but it also uncovers previously undocumented issues with the Meade telescope mount. Future students interested in continuing this research, regardless of which telescope mount is used with TeleTrak, will benefit from the findings of this research.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number