Initial orbit determination methods for track-to-track association Articles uri icon

publication date

  • October 2021

start page

  • 2677

end page

  • 2694


  • 7


  • 68

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0273-1177

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-1948


  • The detection and identification of Resident Space Objects (RSOs) from survey tracks requires robust and efficient orbit determination methods for the association of observations of the same RSO. Both Initial Orbit Determination (IOD) and Orbit Determination (OD) methods perform the orbital estimation in which the association of tracks relies. The choice of proper IOD and OD methods is essential for the whole data association, since they are in charge of providing the estimation required to evaluate the figure of merit of the association. In this paper, we review the state of the art and propose a novel method that does not require initialisation, accounts for measurement noise and provides a full estimation (i.e., state vector and covariance) from an arbitrary number of optical observations. To do so, a boundary value problem is formulated to find a pair of ranges leading to a minimum residuals of the observations. The proposed methods are compared against classical alternatives simulated in scenarios representative of the current space debris environment.


  • initial orbit determination; orbit determination; track-to-track association