Masters Theses

Keywords and Phrases

Collision; Measurements; Probability; Spacecraft; Tracking; Uncertainty


"Due to the drastic increase in orbital debris about the Earth, the likelihood for new and current mission satellites to collide with other objects grows. When a mission satellite is placed in a highly populated orbit in the vicinity of other satellites or debris, it is necessary to consider the probability of collision to assess any possible conjunctions. The computation of the collision probability is heavily dependent on the relative position and velocity of the objects during conjunction, as well as the combined covariance. There are two main types of analytic collision probability computations; the first assumes that the objects in conjunction are characterized by linear relative motion at the time of closest approach, and the second assumes that the objects will maintain highly nonlinear relative motion.

The size of the covariances of both objects plays a significant role in the computation of collision probability. In order to decrease the size of the combined covariance, both objects will be tracked through time, generating measurements from the states of position and velocity. These measurements are utilized by an extended Kalman filter to develop a more confident estimate of the relative position, velocity, and covariance, which will affect the size of the combined covariance and ultimately alter the probability of collision. This allows a method of analyzing the probability of collision for any case, as it will no longer be a single and somewhat arbitrary value.

To further understand the analysis on the probability of collision, Monte Carlo trials are conducted to validate the effects of observation on the probability of collision. These trials offer insight to every collision probability application and can be utilized more effectively to gage whether or not a satellite should maneuver"--Abstract, page iii.


DeMars, Kyle J.

Committee Member(s)

Hosder, Serhat
Pernicka, Henry J.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Aerospace Engineering


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Spring 2019


x, 121 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 119-120).


© 2019 Bruce Thomas Morrison, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Thesis Number

T 11544

Electronic OCLC #