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Master thesis 30 HP: Estimation of satellite orbits for Space radar concept

Göteborg, Sweden
Closing date
30 December 2020
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Over the next decade, the number of satellites in orbit is expected to increase dramatically from the approximately 2,000 that today travel over our heads every day. This is expected to increase traffic density, especially in the lower lanes. In step with this, countries are also developing more advanced space-based monitoring systems. Both the increased traffic and the militarization mean an increased interest in being able to monitor objects in the form of satellites and scrap in orbit. One way to manage this monitoring is to use ground-based radar systems, which is done with, among others, American Space Fence and French GRAVES.

Description of the master thesis

Traditional radar monitoring estimates distance, speed, and bearing for different targets. To then follow these goals, different predictive models are used to estimate how goals move. A typical example is the monitoring of aircraft and helicopters. A distinct advantage of monitoring satellites is that they follow well-defined orbits around the earth. This means that instead of estimating the satellite's position, speed, and bearing, its orbital parameters can be estimated directly.

Since 2020, there is a master thesis, where a satellite's orbit has been described and a simplified setup with two orbit parameters has been treated, see link. This thesis aims to deal with increasingly complex setups, with the overall goal of developing estimates for all six orbits parameters.

Typical methods that can be used for the estimates are MLE, BLUE, and (L) MMSE, where it is also of interest to derive an approximate estimate with low complexity and good properties. For the error estimate, the lower limit for the variance of the estimates should be derived, the so-called Cramér-Rao Bound.

It is proposed to develop a model for the satellite's orbit (in Matlab, for example) where the different estimates are compared with each other and CRB. Depending on available time and interest, even more complicated arrays in the form of a bi- or multi-static radar as well as the impact of different antenna arrays on CRB can be explored.

Your profile

You are at the end of your master’s degree in Mathematical Science, Electrical engineering, Physics or equivalent, and is eligble for your 30 HP degree project.

This position requires that you will be approved in a security screening in accordance with the Swedish Protective Security Act.

What you will be a part of

You will collaborate with experienced systems engineers and professionals in an environment that fosters career development and personal growth. You will be part of a unit working with new sensor concepts.

Surveillance, a Business Area within Saab, is a world-leading supplier of systems for detection of threats and self-protection. Business Unit Radar Solutions is responsible for Radar in airborne-, surface- and naval systems.

The department New Concepts consists of 13 systems engineers, and 3 industrial PhDs and develops new sensor concepts, and perform system studies in new techniques, such as digital radar functions, adaptive signal processing, AI and quantum technologies.

Contact information   

Anders Silander, Technical Specialist

073-437 9040
Carl Kylin, system engineer, industrial PhD
073- 418 5581              

If you aspire to help create and innovate whilst developing yourself in a challenging team setting, Saab may well have the perfect conditions for you to grow. We pride ourselves on a nurturing environment, where everyone is different yet we share the same goal – to help protect people.