Medal, Hugh R.

Committee Member

Eksioglu, Burak

Committee Member

Marufuzzaman, Mohammad

Committee Member

Eksioglu, Sandra D.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Industrial and Systems Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering


Forest fires cause a significant amount of damage and destruction each year. Optimally dispatching resources reduces the amount of damage a forest fire can cause. Models predict the fire spread to provide the data required to optimally dispatch resources. However, the models are only as accurate as the data used to build them. Satellites are one valuable tool in the collection of data for the forest fire models. Satellites provide data on the types of vegetation, the wind speed and direction, the soil moisture content, etc. The current operating paradigm is to passively collect data when possible. However, images from directly overhead provide better resolution and are easier to process. Maneuvering a constellation of satellites to fly directly over the forest fire provides higher quality data than is achieved with the current operating paradigm. Before launch, the location of the forest fire is unknown. Therefore, it is impossible to optimize the initial orbits for the satellites. Instead, the expected cost of maneuvering to observe the forest fire determines the optimal initial orbits. A two-stage stochastic programming approach is well suited for this class of problem where initial decisions are made with an uncertain future and then subsequent decisions are made once a scenario is realized. A repeat ground track orbit provides a non-maneuvering, natural solution providing a daily flyover of the forest fire. However, additional maneuvers provide a second daily flyover of the forest fire. The additional maneuvering comes at a significant cost in terms of additional fuel, but provides more data collection opportunities. After data are collected, ground stations receive the data for processing. Optimally selecting the ground station locations reduce the number of built ground stations and reduces the data fusion issues. However, the location of the forest fire alters the optimal ground station sites. A two-stage stochastic programming approach optimizes the selection of ground stations to maximize the expected amount of data downloaded from a satellite. The approaches of selecting initial orbits and ground station locations including uncertainty will provide a robust system to reduce the amount of damage caused by forest fires.