Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Kira Abercromby


The main purpose of this thesis is to develop a search strategy for space debris that are in the geosynchronous orbit (GEO) region. The search strategy is not an effort to find the object initially but rather if found one time to aid in finding it again within a small time frame. This was a request from NASA Johnson Space Center Orbital Debris Program Office through the MODEST, Michigan Orbital Debris Survey Telescope, program. A single definitive search pattern was not found, however depending on the COEs of the orbit specific search strategy can be employed. These search strategies are far from perfect and can be improved upon with more rigorous testing as well as a larger data sample. Another goal is to look for correlation between the orbital parameters and the errors in the predicted right ascension (RA) and the declination (DEC). This was accomplished by varying the different orbital parameters by ±10% individually while holding the other parameters constant. This showed some correlation existed between some parameters and their errors, in particular there was correlation between a variation in right ascension of ascending node (RAAN) and the value of RAAN itself. The correlation found was that with the higher the value of RAAN the larger the RMS error.