Abstract Space debris poses a serious threat to human space activities and needs to be measured and cataloged. As a new technology for space target surveillance, the measurement accuracy of diffuse reflection laser ranging (DRLR) is much higher than that of microwave radar and optoelectronic measurement. Based on the laser ranging data of space debris from the DRLR system at Shanghai Astronomical Observatory acquired in March-April, 2013, the characteristics and precision of the laser ranging data are analyzed and their applications in orbit determination of space debris are discussed, which is implemented for the first time in China. The experiment indicates that the precision of laser ranging data can reach 39 cm–228 cm. When the data are sufficient enough (four arcs measured over three days), the orbital accuracy of space debris can be up to 50 m.
Keywords space vehicles — astrometry — celestial mechanics — methods: data analysis
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