Observation campaign dedicated to 1968-081E fragments identification

Masahiko Uetsuhara, Toshifumi Yanagisawa, Daisuke Kinoshita, Toshiya Hanada, Yukihito Kitazawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This paper proposes a comprehensive approach to associate origins of space objects newly discovered during optical surveys in the geostationary region with spacecraft breakup events. A recent study has shown that twelve breakup events would be occurred in the geostationary region. The proposed approach utilizes orbital debris modeling techniques to effectively conduct prediction, detection, and classification of breakup fragments. Two techniques are applied to get probable results for origin identifications. First, we select an observation point where a high detection rate for one breakup event among others can be expected. Second, we associate detected tracklets, which denotes the signals associated with a physical object, with the prediction results according to their angular velocities. The second technique investigates which breakup event a tracklet would belong to, and its probability by using the k-nearest neighbor (k-NN) algorithm. In this paper we conduct optical observations of breakup fragments to verify the proposed approach. We selected a well-known breakup event of the rocket body US Titan 3C Transtage (1968-081E) as the primary observation target, and then we conduct optical observations by campaign between two sensors in Taiwan and one sensor in Japan. While three nights observations, we detect 96 tracklets that are uncorrelated with the Space Surveillance Network catalogue at the observation epochs, and finally 50 tracklets among them are associated with the breakup event of 1968-081E.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2207-2215
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2013


  • Optical observation
  • Orbital debris
  • Origin identification
  • Spacecraft breakup
  • Tracklet


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