Gary M. Goff

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Jonathan T. Black, PhD.


Due to the ever increasing congestion of the space environment, there is an increased demand for real-time situation awareness of all objects in space. An unknown spacecraft maneuver changes the predicted orbit, complicates tracking, and degrades estimate accuracies. Traditional orbit estimation routines are implemented, tested, and compared to a multiple model format that adaptively handles unknown maneuvers. Multiple Model Adaptive Estimation is implemented in an original way to track a non-cooperative satellite by covariance inflation and filtering-through a maneuver. Parameters for successful instantaneous maneuver reconstruction are analyzed. Variable State Dimension estimation of a continuously maneuvering spacecraft is investigated. A requirements based analysis is performed on short arc orbital solutions. Large covariance propagation of potential maneuvers is explored. Using ground-based radars, several thousand simulations are run to develop new techniques to estimate orbits during and after both instantaneous and continuous maneuvers. The new methods discovered are more accurate by a factor of 700 after only a single pass when compared to non-adaptive methods. The algorithms, tactics, and analysis complement on-going efforts to improve Space Situational Awareness and dynamic modeling.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number