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Orbital Uncertainty Working Group

The OUWG aim is to advance the community’s understanding of orbital uncertainties, building on previous work, including the 2016 paper by Poore et al, ‘Covariance and Uncertainty Realism in Space Surveillance and Tracking’.

This will be achieved by conducting a series of 6 workshops, organised by GNOSIS, where participants will be invited to describe relevant research that they have previously conducted, and discuss topics that require further investigation.

This working group activity is sponsored by the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), and will conclude with a white paper. This paper will both collate and organise the material from the workshops and set out a programme of research activities that could be pursued over the coming 5-10 years.

Our long-term goal is to exploit progress within the OUWG community to enhance SDA capabilities for multi-object orbit determination, custody, and cataloguing in a similar timeframe.

Uncertainty topics that will be covered in the planned series of workshops include:

  1. Sensor level errors including measurement noise and sensor and navigation biases
  2. Hardware and software faults/errors
  3. Sensor timing errors
  4. Uncertain parameters found in the model dynamics (including the space environment) and in the measurement equations relating the dynamics to the sensor measurements
  5. Structural uncertainty or model bias in the model dynamics
  6. Additional sources of uncertainty occur for medium to large objects called extended body uncertainties. For example, an extended body covering several pixels may have an overly optimistic (too small) covariance if the uncertainty of the estimated state only covers the centroid of the body
  7. Propagation of uncertainty
  8. Algorithmic uncertainty or numerical uncertainty that comes from numerical errors and numerical approximations in a computer model
  9. Cross-tag or mis-association uncertainty
  10. Inverse uncertainty quantification including the statistical orbit determination and bias estimation uncertainty
The OUWG programme is sponsored by DSTL.
Workshop Schedule
Workshop
Date
Venue
Topics
1 29th January Warwick Sensor level errors including measurement noise and sensor
and navigation biases;
Hardware and software faults/errors;
Sensor timing errors.
2 25th March Birmingham Uncertain parameters found in the model dynamics
(including space environment) and in the measurement
equation relating the dynamics to the sensor measurements;
3 20th May Strathclyde Structural uncertainty or model bias in the model dynamics;
Additional sources of uncertainty occur for medium to large
objects called extended body uncertainties. For example, an
extended body covering several pixels may have an overly
optimistic (too small) covariance if the uncertainty of the
estimated state only covers the centroid of the body;
4 15th July TBD Propagation of uncertainty;
Algorithmic uncertainty or numerical uncertainty that
comes from numerical errors and numerical approximations
in a computer model;
Cross-tag or mis-association uncertainty;
5 9th September TBD Inverse uncertainty quantification including the statistical
orbit determination and bias estimation uncertainty;
6 25th November TBD ‘Wash-up’ meeting and planning for white paper

Are you a UK-based* subject expert who would like to participate in the OUWG?

*The OUWG aims to conduct most workshops in person with limited virtual participation, given this aim we are looking primarily for UK members, although it is not exclusive to them.

OUWG Members website

(N.B. this site is password-protected. If you are a member of the OUWG and need help with accessing the site then please contact the GNOSIS team).