Angles-only orbit determination using hamiltonian monte carlo

Lauren G. Schlenker, Richard Linares, Andrew J. Sinclair

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


The lack of observability inherent in the linearized dynamics model for angles-only relative navigation between two satellites in close proximity has been well established by numerous studies, showing that an infinite set of possible relative orbits satisfy the observations. This work seeks a probabilistic method of angles-only orbit determination and to study this problem using the full nonlinear formulation. The lack of range observability in the problem makes Gaussian approximations a poor representation of the solution probability density, and motivates higher fidelity approaches than typical Markov Chain Monte Carlo approaches for probability distribution sampling. In order to achieve this, Hamiltonian Monte Carlo sampling of a theoretical probability distribution of possible solutions is explored, which is known to be more successful for high dimensional problems. The technique is performed on several angles-only measurement cases with increasingly difficult observability, including close proximity and coplanar cases. It is observed that when tuned correctly, Hamiltonian Monte Carlo sampling can successfully resolve the probability distributions of the possible deputy states, showing increasingly non-Gaussian behavior as observability is limited. Additionally, Hamiltonian Monte Carlo achieves this much more efficiently than traditional Markov Chain Monte Carlo techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpace Flight Mechanics Meeting
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624105333
StatePublished - 2018
EventSpace Flight Mechanics Meeting, 2018 - Kissimmee, United States
Duration: Jan 8 2018Jan 12 2018

Publication series

NameSpace Flight Mechanics Meeting, 2018


OtherSpace Flight Mechanics Meeting, 2018
CountryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was made possible by support from the Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, through the Universities Space Research Association.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Angles-only orbit determination using hamiltonian monte carlo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this