Comparison of Model Predicted and Observed Light Curves of GEO Satellites
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractAlthough the amount of light received by sensors on the ground from Resident Space Objects (RSOs) in geostationary orbit (GEO) is small, information can still be extracted in the form of light curves (temporal brightness or apparent magnitude). Previous research has shown promising results in determining RSO characteristics such as shape, size, reflectivity, and attitude by processing simulated light curve data with various estimation algorithms. These simulated light curves have been produced using one of several existing analytic Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) models. These BRDF models have generally come from researchers in computer graphics and machine vision and have not been shown to be realistic for telescope observations of RSOs in GEO. While BRDFs have been used for Space Situational Awareness (SSA) analysis and characterization, there is a lack of research on the validation of BRDFs with real data. This research is focused on comparing telescope data provided by Applied Defense Solutions, as processed by their Efficient Photometry In-Frame Calibration (EPIC) software, with predicted light curves based on the Ashikhmin-Premoze BRDF and two additional popular illumination models, Ashikhmin-Shirley and Cook-Torrance. I computed predicted light curves based on two line mean elements (TLEs), shape model, attitude profile, observing ground station location, observation time and BRDF. The selected BRDFS provided accurate apparent magnitude trends and behavior, but uncertainties due to lack of attitude information and deficiencies in our satellite model prevented us from obtaining a better match to the real data.
Degree ProgramGraduate College