Orbit determination using only doppler frequency of tethered satellites at a single amateur radio station

Yuji Sakamoto, Tetsuo Yasaka

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


An existing orbit observation system on the ground assumes that orbital objects follow the Keplerian orbit. However, in the observation of a tethered satellite system, which is expected to be a future space system, an observed satellite does not follow the Keplerian orbit. Therefore, a new method for the orbit determination is required. In this study, firstly, the sensitivities of observation values to the length and librational motion of a tether are compared, and it is verified which observation source is better than others. Secondly, a method to estimate the center-of-system orbit, the length of tether, the librational angle and the rate of change by using long-span observation data is considered. To enable the stable estimation, a new filtering method is proposed. It is the advantage that the method includes the out-of-plane librational motion as well as the in-plane librational motion. Finally, a low-cost orbit determination system is taken up as a case study. The Doppler frequency of the beacon signal of a satellite is only measured by using an amateur ratio station. It is shown that the orbit of a tethered satellite system can be estimated by this low-cost observation method. As a result, it was confirmed that a range-rate observation is better than others. Moreover, the orbit of a tethered satellite system could be stably estimated by the new filtering method in the example of 30-deg in-plane and out-of-plane amplitude of librational motion. Furthermore, the feasibility of the low-cost orbit determination system for a tethered satellite system was confirmed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-279
Number of pages15
JournalAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes
Event10th International Conference of Pacific Basin Societies, ISCOPS - Tokyo, Japan
Duration: 2003 Dec 102003 Dec 12

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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