Covariance and Uncertainty Realism in Space Surveillance and Tracking
- Magazine Article
The characterization of uncertainty in the estimate of the state of a resident space object is fundamental to many space surveillance tasks including data association, uncorrelated track (UCT) resolution, catalog maintenance, sensor tasking and scheduling, as well as space situational awareness (SSA) missions such as conjunction assessments and maneuver detection. Generally, uncertainties are classified as either aleatoric, epistemic, or a mixture of both. Aleatoric uncertainty is the natural randomness or physical variability present in the system or its environment and is thus statistical in nature. In contrast, epistemic uncertainty is uncertainty that is due to limited data or knowledge.