Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Kira Abercromby


This report presents an investigation and development of the methods for orbital object identification. Two goals were accomplished in this master’s thesis; the development of a method of inverting material proportions from an object’s combined spectrum, and the investigation of methods and initialization of measurement of space environment effects on spectral features of common spacecraft materials. A constrained least squares approach was chosen for inverting spectral proportions from the combined spectra. The final results fall within 1 - 15% of the original spectrum, depending on the quality and noise levels of the original spectrum. Additionally, the effects of outgassing and atomic oxygen erosion were measured using the vacuum chamber facilities at California Polytechnic State University and are to be used as a basis for future identification of orbital debris. To have a fully functional model for accurately identifying space objects, both parts are needed: a set of space environment effect measurements as a basis for the identification model (for use on objects exposed to the space environment), and the identification model to mathematically determine the best fit set of materials.