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

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages34
JournalOptimization and Engineering
Early online date7 Nov 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Nov 2021


  • optimization
  • genetic algorithms
  • variable-size optimization
  • satellite tracking


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