Estimation of the low earth orbit space object population using a non-vertical staring radar Academic Article uri icon


  • To estimate the low Earth orbit space object population measurements have been taken using the Haystack radar in a staring mode. The radar has been used in a vertical staring mode, and a non-vertical mode at several elevation angles pointed due South. Haystack is a monopulse radar, consequently it measures range and direction of motion. On each of the objects in the small sample of the total population which pass through the beam the radar cross section (RCS) and orbital elements are estimated. Developed in this paper is an algorithm for estimating the low Earth orbit space object population and distribution from measurements which pass through a radar beam such as Haystack. The algorithm depends on the range, inclination and radar cross section of each object passing through the radar beam, and does not depend on any previous estimates of the population distribution, such as the U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) Data Base. In an earlier paper the algorithm was developed for the radar in the vertical mode. In this paper that work is extended to the non-vertical mode.

author list (cited authors)

  • Alfriend, K. T., & Lewis, D. L.

publication date

  • January 1996