Initial orbit determination using Doppler shift of Fraunhofer lines

  • Brett PantaloneEmail author
  • Michael W. Kudenov
Original Article


Techniques for tracking objects in low Earth orbit include line-of-sight angle measurements and range measurements using RADAR or laser reflection. However, active ranging techniques are less effective for higher orbits because of the greater signal loss from distant targets. In this paper, using computer simulation, we show how incorporating measurements of the Doppler shift of Solar Fraunhofer lines can improve initial orbit determination. Results indicate that for Doppler measurement errors of less than 5 m/s, prediction accuracies for some orbital configurations can exceed Gooding’s angles-only method, while using only two observations of the target.


Initial orbit determination (IOD) Doppler shift Fraunhofer lines Space situational awareness (SSA) 



The authors would like to acknowledge the Air Force Office of Scientific Research for their support via grant number FA9550-14-1-0256.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10569_2018_9878_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (121 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 121 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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