Celestial mechanics

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 481–488

The use of angles and angular rates

I: Initial orbit determination
  • L. G. Taff
  • D. L. Hall

DOI: 10.1007/BF01229289

Cite this article as:
Taff, L.G. & Hall, D.L. Celestial Mechanics (1977) 16: 481. doi:10.1007/BF01229289


MIT's Lincoln Laboratory has developed a computer driven, rapidly slewing (≃4° s−1), electro-optical (≃3″ resolution) telescope. This enables the rapid measurement of angles and instantaneous angular rates for artificial satellites. The simultaneous acquisition of angles and angular rates constitutes a new initial orbit problem which has been solved. Three different methods of solution are presented including an exact, analytical one. Numerical tests on six widely different satellite orbits indicate that the topocentric distance can be determined to better than 1% (and usually as well as 0.1%) for most satellites after a 5–10 min observation interval.

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. G. Taff
    • 1
  • D. L. Hall
    • 1
  1. 1.Lincoln LaboratoryMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyLexingtonUSA