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Ballistic missile track initiation from satellite observations

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4 Author(s)
Yeddanapudi, M. ; Dept. of Electr. & Syst. Eng., Connecticut Univ., Storrs, CT, USA ; Bar-Shalom, Y. ; Pattipati, K.R. ; Deb, S.

An algorithm is presented to initiate tracks of a ballistic missile in the initial exoatmospheric phase, using line of sight (LOS) measurements from one or more moving platforms (typically satellites). The major feature of this problem is the poor target motion observability which results in a very ill-conditioned estimation problem. The Gauss-Newton iterative least squares minimization algorithm for estimating the state of a nonlinear deterministic system with nonlinear noisy measurements has been previously applied to the problem of angles-only orbit determination using more than three observations. A major shortcoming of this approach is that convergence of the algorithm depends strongly on the initial guess. By using the more sophisticated Levenberg-Marquardt method in place of the simpler Gauss-Newton algorithm and by developing robust new methods for obtaining the initial guess in both single and multiple satellite scenarios, the above mentioned difficulties have been overcome. In addition, an expression for the Cramer-Rao lower bound (CRLB) on the error covariance matrix of the estimate is derived. We also incorporate additional partial information as an extra pseudomeasurement and determine a modified maximum likelihood (ML) estimate of the target state and the associated bound on the covariance matrix. In most practical situations, probabilistic models of the target altitude and/or speed at the initial point constitute the most useful additional information. Monte Carlo simulation studies on some typical scenarios were performed, and the results indicate that the estimation errors are commensurate with the theoretical lower bounds, thus illustrating that the proposed estimators are efficient

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 3 )