Stochastic satellite tracking with constrained budget via structured-chromosome genetic algorithms

Gentile, Lorenzo and Greco, Cristian and Minisci, Edmondo and Bartz-Beielstein, Thomas and Vasile, Massimiliano (2021) Stochastic satellite tracking with constrained budget via structured-chromosome genetic algorithms. Optimization and Engineering, 24 (1). pp. 257-290. ISSN 1389-4420 (

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This paper focuses on the scheduling under uncertainty of satellite tracking from a heterogeneous network of ground stations taking into account allocated resources. An optimisation-based approach is employed to efficiently select the optimal tracking schedule that minimises the final estimation uncertainty. Specifically, the scheduling is formulated as a variable-size problem, and a Structured-Chromosome Genetic Algorithm is developed to tackle the mixed-discrete global optimisation. The search algorithm employs genetic operators specifically revised to handle hierarchical search spaces. An orbit determination routine is run within each call to the fitness function to quantify the estimation uncertainty resulting from each candidate tracking schedule. The developed scheduler is tested on the tracking optimisation of a satellite in low Earth orbit, a highly perturbed dynamical regime. The obtained results show that the variable-size variants of Genetic Algorithms always outperform the fixed-size counterparts employed for comparison. In particular, Structured-Chromosome Genetic Algorithm is shown to find significantly better schedules under severely limited budgets.