Practical method to identify orbital anomaly as spacecraft breakup in the geostationary region

Masahiko Uetsuhara, Toshiya Hanada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Identifying spacecraft breakup events is an essential issue for better understanding of the current orbital debris environment. This paper proposes an observation planning approach to identify an orbital anomaly, which appears as a significant discontinuity in archived orbital history, as a spacecraft breakup. The proposed approach is applicable to orbital anomalies in the geostationary region. The proposed approach selects a spacecraft that experienced an orbital anomaly, and then predicts trajectories of possible fragments of the spacecraft at an observation epoch. This paper theoretically demonstrates that observation planning for the possible fragments can be conducted. To do this, long-term behaviors of the possible fragments are evaluated. It is concluded that intersections of their trajectories will converge into several corresponding regions in the celestial sphere even if the breakup epoch is not specified and it has uncertainty of the order of several weeks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1072-1077
Number of pages6
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 15 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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