The boresight and atmospheric jitter errors in a satellite tracking experiment are currently estimated by matching the probability density function (PDF) of the received signal counts with a set of PDFs of the signal for several combinations of jitter and boresight errors and then the best choice of jitter and boresight error is accepted via the χ-square test. Here a technique that can estimate atmospheric beam jitter and boresight error directly in a satellite active tracking experiment using the moments of the returns off the satellites is proposed. That is, we use the theoretical PDF for the signal return from a small target and compute the corresponding theoretical PDF moments. We can then form a few equations from these moments with only two unknowns, namely, the jitter and boresight. Solving for the unknowns is then unambiguous and very rapid. The method is valid for small physical cross-section targets and has been verified by using simulation and experimental data. Extending the case to asymmetric jitter and asymmetric boresight is possible.
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