The satellite market is large and growing. For example, analysis firm Forecast International is projecting worldwide deliveries of about 262 geostationary or medium-Earth orbit commercial communications satellites by 2019. This implies a strong market for the technology described in this proposal. In particular, as space becomes more crowded with commercial and government spacecraft, and space debris, the robust calculation of trajectories along with accurate estimates of uncertainty can only become more important. The global space and satellite market is expected to reach $158 Billion by 2010. This market involves numerous government agencies and permeates many parts of both the U.S. Military and commercial entities. In particular, large players in this market include Boeing, TerreStar, and Northrop Grumman. The algorithms and software proposed herein will find applicability to many challenging problems for DoD and commercial entities where complicated dynamics and uncertainty play a role.
There are several current state-of-the-art software packages that are clear and direct transition paths for the proposed work. In particular, there are the GPS-Enhanced Onboard Navigation Software (GEONS), the GPS-Inferred Positioning System and Orbit Analysis Software (GIPSY), and the General Mission Analysis Tool (GMAT). Of the various packages, GMAT is the most directly applicable and will be the focus of the Phase I effort. Accordingly, these algorithms will find applicability in any pre-flight mission design, planning, and analysis activities that utilize the aforementioned software packages. One domain of particular note in space craft missions is the neighborhood of libration points, where the underlying dynamics are rather complicated and the dynamics effect on uncertainty is important. Another domain that we see of prime importance is that of spacecraft formation flying where, again, the dynamics and the uncertainty play a key role.