Assessing Air Force Space Command’s
Astrodynamics Standards

Committee for the Assessment of the U.S. Air Force’s Astrodynamic Standards

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences


Washington, D.C.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

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 ’   Assessing Air Force Space Command's Astrodynamics Standards Committee for the Assessment of the U.S. Air Force’s Astrodynamic Standards Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study is based on work supported by Grant FA9550-11-1-0007 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Air Force. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the agency that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-26142-5 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-26142-2 Cover: Design by Tim Warchocki. Copies of this report are available free of charge from: Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sci- ences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of emi- nent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is admin- istered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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OTHER RECENT REPORTS OF THE AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities: Restoring NASA’s Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in Space (Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board [ASEB], 2012) Recapturing NASA’s Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities (ASEB, 2012) An Interim Report on NASA’s Draft Space Technology Roadmaps (ASEB, 2011) Final Report of the Committee to Review Proposals to the 2011 Ohio Third Frontier Wright Projects Program (OTF WPP) (ASEB, 2011) Limiting Future Collision Risk to Spacecraft: An Assessment of NASA’s Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Programs (ASEB, 2011) Preparing for the High Frontier—the Role and Training of NASA Astronauts in the Post-Space Shuttle Era (ASEB, 2011) Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era (Space Studies Board [SSB] with ASEB, 2011) Summary of the Workshop to Identify Gaps and Possible Directions for NASA’s Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Programs (ASEB, 2011) Advancing Aeronautical Safety: A Review of NASA’s Aviation Safety-Related Research Programs (ASEB, 2010) Capabilities for the Future: An Assessment of NASA Laboratories for Basic Research (Laboratory Assessments Board with ASEB, 2010) Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Final Report (SSB with ASEB, 2010) Final Report of the Committee to Review Proposals to the 2010 Ohio Third Frontier (OTF) Wright Projects Program (WPP) (ASEB, 2010) America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs (SSB with ASEB, 2009) Approaches to Future Space Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing World: Summary of a Workshop (SSB with ASEB, 2009) An Assessment of NASA’s National Aviation Operations Monitoring Service (ASEB, 2009) Final Report of the Committee for the Review of Proposals to the 2009 Engineering and Physical Science Research and Commer- cialization Program of the Ohio Third Frontier Program (ASEB, 2009) Fostering Visions for the Future: A Review of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (ASEB, 2009) Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2009) Radioisotope Power Systems: An Imperative for Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Space Exploration (SSB with ASEB, 2009) Assessing the Research and Development Plan for the Next Generation Air Transportation System: Summary of a Workshop (ASEB, 2008) A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program (ASEB, 2008) Final Report of the Committee for the Review of Proposals to the 2008 Engineering Research and Commercialization Program of the Ohio Third Frontier Program (ASEB, 2008) Final Report of the Committee to Review Proposals to the 2008 Ohio Research Scholars Program of the State of Ohio (ASEB, 2008) Launching Science: Science Opportunities Provided by NASA’s Constellation System (SSB with ASEB, 2008) Managing Space Radiation Risk in the New Era of Space Exploration (ASEB, 2008) NASA Aeronautics Research: An Assessment (ASEB, 2008) Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program: An Interim Report (ASEB, 2008) Science Opportunities Enabled by NASA’s Constellation System: Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2008) United States Civil Space Policy: Summary of a Workshop (SSB with ASEB, 2008) Wake Turbulence: An Obstacle to Increased Air Traffic Capacity (ASEB, 2008) Limited copies of ASEB reports are available free of charge from: Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board National Research Council The Keck Center of the National Academies 500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (202) 334-2858/

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COMMITTEE FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE’S ASTRODYNAMIC STANDARDS PAUL D. NIELSEN, Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute, Chair KYLE T. ALFRIEND, Texas A&M University, Vice Chair MICHAEL J. BLOOMFIELD, Oceaneering International, Inc. JOHN T. EMMERT, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory YANPING GUO, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory TIMOTHY D. MACLAY, Celestial Insight, Inc. JAMES G. MILLER, Omitron Corporation1 ROBERT F. MORRIS, Aerospace Corporation AUBREY B. POORE, Numerica Corporation RYAN P. RUSSELL, University of Texas at Austin DONALD G. SAARI, University of California, Irvine DANIEL J. SCHEERES, University of Colorado, Boulder WILLIAM P. SCHONBERG, Missouri University of Science and Technology RAMASWAMY SRIDHARAN, MIT Lincoln Laboratory Staff DWAYNE A. DAY, Senior Program Officer, Study Director CATHERINE A. GRUBER, Editor AMANDA R. THIBAULT, Research Associate ANDREA M. REBHOLZ, Program Associate MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board 1 Formerly with the MITRE Corporation until February 2012. v

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AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD LESTER LYLES, The Lyles Group, Chair AMY L. BUHRIG, Enerprise Technology Strategy, Boeing Company, Vice Chair ELLA M. ATKINS, University of Michigan INDERJIT CHOPRA, University of Maryland, College Park JOHN-PAUL B. CLARKE, Georgia Institute of Technology RAVI B. DEO, EMBR VIJAY DHIR, University of California, Los Angeles EARL H. DOWELL, Duke University MICA R. ENDSLEY, SA Technologies DAVID GOLDSTON, Harvard University R. JOHN HANSMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN B. HAYHURST, Boeing Company (retired) WILLIAM L. JOHNSON, California Institute of Technology RICHARD KOHRS, Independent Consultant IVETT LEYVA, Air Force Research Laboratory ELAINE S. ORAN, Naval Research Laboratory HELEN R. REED, Texas A&M University ELI RESHOTKO, Case Western Reserve University EDMOND SOLIDAY, United Airlines (retired) Staff MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate CHRISTINA O. SHIPMAN, Financial Officer SANDRA WILSON, Financial Assistant vi

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Preface In early 2011 the U.S. Air Force Space Command asked the National Research Council (NRC) to undertake a study of its astrodynamics standards—essentially the algorithms and associated computer systems used by the Air Force to keep track of thousands of orbiting objects. To conduct this study, the NRC established the Committee for the Assessment of the U.S. Air Force’s Astrodynamic Standards. The committee met four times: October 11-12, 2011, in Colorado Springs, Colorado; December 12-14, 2011, in Irvine, California; February 7-9, 2012, in Wash - ington, D.C.; and March 26-27, 2012, in Colorado Springs. It conducted data-gathering sessions at the first three meetings as a basis for preparing its report. Chapter 1, “Meeting the Mission,” provides the background necessary for the remainder of the report. It describes the mission and future anticipated needs, summarizes the history of the development of the standard - ized astrodynamics algorithms and how we got to where we are today, and summarizes the needs of commercial users. Chapter 2, “Astrodynamics Algorithms,” provides a summary of the physical and mathematical aspects of astrodynamics algorithms, estimation algorithms, and the problems of and need for obtaining a realistic representa- tion of orbit uncertainty and covariance realism, as well as the need for improving the characterization of sensor measurement errors. The broader aspects of the computational environment of the algorithms, the data products, and the need to ensure interoperability with all users are issues that are addressed in Chapter 3, “Systems Issues.” Chapter 4, “Broader Issues,” concludes with a discussion of issues such as the vision and the environment and culture for ensuring that future astrodynamics algorithms are quality products that meet the needs of the Joint Space Operations Center in a cost-effective manner. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: George H. Born, University of Colorado, Boulder, L. Alberto Cangahuala, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Chee-Yee Chong, BAE Systems, Duane Deal, Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies (SGT), Inc., vii

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viii PREFACE Tim Fuller-Rowell, NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, Felix R. Hoots, Aerospace Corporation, Robert H. Latiff, U.S. Air Force (retired), and Alan M. Segerman, Naval Research Laboratory. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse any conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by William Ailor, the Aerospace Corporation. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Contents SUMMARY 1 1 MEETING THE MISSION 7 History of Standards in Astrodynamics, 9 Description of the Current “Standards,” 12 How Standardized Astrodynamics Algorithms Are Meeting Requirements for Accuracy and Interoperability, 13 Standardized Astrodynamics Algorithms—The View of the User Community, 14 DOD Users, 14 Civilian Government Users, 16 Commercial Users, 17 Anticipated Future Needs, 18 2 ASTRODYNAMICS ALGORITHMS 19 Atmosphere Models, 21 Force Models, 26 Nongravitational Models, 27 Gravitational Models, 28 Data Association, Trajectory Propagation, and Orbit Determination, 29 Data Association, 30 Orbit Propagation, 31 Statistical Initial Orbit Determination, 32 Analytic Methods, 32 Insights from Modern Dynamical Systems, 34 Uncertainty Representation and Computation, 35 Nonlinear Estimation and Filtering, 38 Sensor Error Characterization, 39 Future Drivers, 40 Broad Research in Space Situational Awareness, 40 Object Characterization and a More Complete Catalog, 41 ix

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x CONTENTS 3 SYSTEMS ISSUES 44 Architecture, 44 Interoperability, 48 Data Products and Formats, 49 Ingesting New Data, 50 Data Sharing, 50 Policies Restricting Information Sharing, 51 Automation, 52 Personnel, 53 4 BROADER ISSUES 55 Strategic Analysis and Vision, 55 AFSPC Culture and Interaction with the Community, 56 Cost and Risk, 59 APPENDIXES A Committee and Staff Biographical Information 63 B Acronyms and Glossary 69