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Friday, 30 March 2012

International collaboration in Space Situational Awareness / Space Surveillance and Tracking (SSA/SST) programs:

 The TFRM's collaboration in the SSA/SST international effort develops in two differents projects: The European Space Agency (ESA) program and the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) survey.

TFRM is one of the Spanish assets that is involved in the ESA's SSA/SST Preparatory Programme (2009-2012). During 2011 TFRM took part in the ESA CO-VI observational campaign. This was an experimental satellite tracking campaign using European facilities, aimed to determine how well existing telescopes can work together to track objects in geosynchronous orbits. Systematic observations of different GEO satellites were conducted by TFRM, to determine 1137 satellite angular positions. The results were presented at the European Space Surveillance Conference held in Madrid on Jun 2011 ("Optical Observation Campaign in the Framework of the ESA Space Surveillance System Precursor Services"; Früh C., Schildknecht T., et. al.). We estimate our astrometric precision in the GEO satellites angular coordinates to be below 0.5 arcseconds in both coordinates. In order to testing our data quality, orbit determination from the angular measurements was carried out using the Orbit Determination Tool Kit (ODTK) software package, from Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI). This licensed software is used by ROA in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA). As an example, in the Fig.1, we show the 2-sigma (95%) uncertainties obtained over the MSG2 satellite, with 175 angular measurements along 4 nights in which the satellite was not maneuvered.

 Position Uncertainty

Fig.1 Uncertainties in the position of the MSG2 satellite, at 2 sigmas (95%) and in RIC coordinates. It is cearly noticeable the characteristic increasing of the Intrack uncertainty during daytime.


Furthermore, TFRM is participating during the whole year 2012 in the ESA Surveillance campaing (CO-VIII) and we expect a TFRM's active participation in the future SSA Programme from 2013.


ISON is a civilian non-governmental project devoted to space debris research and space situation awareness.TFRM is collaborating with ISON in its sistematic survey of the GEO Protected Zone since 2011. For the image reduction and detection of geosynchronous objects we're using the advanced software APEX II, developed by V. Kouprianov (Pulkovo Observatory) and widely validated. As a result of this collaboration, we are one of the sensors that contributes to the completeness of the objects without Two-Line-Element data of ESA's DISCOS data base, as stated at the last "Classification of Geosynchronous Objects Report" issued by ESA.

Last Updated ( Friday, 30 March 2012 )
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