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The Orbital Space Ontology Project

Ontology Engineering for Space

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Welcome to the current landing page for the Orbital Space Ontology Project. Contact the author at Ontologies available upon request.

Project Goal (general)

The development of a computational ontology or ontology suite for astronautical and space science applications. A specific aim is to develop domain ontologies for that can be used across federated databases. It is based on the publications listed below. The scope/domain-of-interest is Space situational awareness(SSA) and the orbital and near-Earth space environment. A specific sub-domain is orbital debris ontology(1)(Rovetto, ESI 2015),space situational awareness(SSA) (2)(Rovetto & Kelso, 2016), general orbitology, space operations, and modeling activities.


Ontologies being developed include (Available upon request)

Each ontology may form a sub-domain of the overall scope, collectively forming a modular architecture for reuse is distinct applications. For example, an ontology of orbital space environment requires modeling the object, events, their interrelations; and the observations, measurements, and astrodynamic modeling thereof.

The ontologies aiim to be used by and developed for NASA ontologies and data resources, e.g., NASA SWEET, IVOA ontologies, and elsewhere.

Database-specific Ontologies

Project Goals (specific)



Robert J. Rovetto * Emails: rrovetto[at], robert.rovetto[at], * Author ORCID * Author GitHub homepage * Alumnus of Univ.of Maryland, and The State University of New York. Some space studies coursework from American Military University.

History: Author Bio-Contextual-Efforts

This project has been a desired PhD topic since 2011 when I thought of applying ontology to the orbital debris (OD) domain (1) might help improving the OD hazard by facilitating sharing and integration (verifying documents/references available upon request. Hat tip to David Vallado, AGI.). I’ve hoped to use it toward a foot-in-the-door to space eduation and entering the space sector (ideally NASA or ESA). However, since 2011 I’ve not been able to find a PhD or undergraduate position for this as a thesis. Additionally in that time, I pursued an ongoing search to do public service in maritime search and rescue. Finally and unfortunately, in the time since ideation of this project, persons and companies have seen the potential utility of it and took my ideas. I therefore urgently seek a funded opportunity to sustainably work on this project in a team environment with professionals in the required disciplines of astrodynamics, astroinformatics, computer science, and ontology engineering. I have developed many paper cocepts for co-authorship with interested parties, and have identified grants we may apply to. In pursuing this project I seek to find an opportunity to complete a STEM or interdisciplinary space degree (e.g., astronautics, astronautical engienering, astrodynamics, etc).

Backgorund - Ontology

Computational ontologies are computer-readable generic terminologies with a formal semantics. They provide data and knowledge models for software applications to draw from and reason over. Their class terms (and formal definitions) provide semantic annotation of database terms, which provides meaning to data. Ontology engineering is related to the fields of information/data science, linked-data, semantic web, artificial intelligence, and database management. Semantic interoperability, data-exchange, data-fusion, data-mining, data-extraction, and knowledge representation are practical aims of ontologies. Concepts and distinctions from philosophical and formal ontology are often used.


Copyright (c) Robert J. Rovetto 2011-2017.