Accession Number : ADA620098


Title :   Space Situational Awareness of Large Numbers of Payloads from a Single Deployment


Descriptive Note : Conference paper


Corporate Author : NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC


Personal Author(s) : Segerman, Alan M ; Byers, Jeff M ; Emmert, John T ; Nicholas, Andrew C


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a620098.pdf


Report Date : Sep 2014


Pagination or Media Count : 12


Abstract : The nearly simultaneous deployment of a large number of payloads from a single vehicle presents a new challenge for space object catalog maintenance and space situational awareness (SSA). Following two cubesat deployments in November, 2013, five weeks were required to catalog the resulting 64 orbits. The Kicksat mission of May, 2014, if it had proved successful, would have presented an even greater SSA challenge, with its deployment of 128 chip-sized picosats. Although all of these deployments were in short-lived orbits, future deployments will inevitably occur at higher altitudes, with a longer term threat of collision with active spacecraft. With such deployments, individual scientific payload operators require rapid precise knowledge of their satellites' locations. Following the first November launch, the cataloging did not initially associate a payload with each orbit leaving this to the satellite operators. For short duration missions, the time required to identify an experiment's specific orbit may easily be a large fraction of the spacecraft's lifetime. For a Kicksat-type deployment, present tracking cannot collect enough taggable observations to catalog each small object. The current approach is to treat the chip cloud as a single catalog object. However, the cloud dissipates into multiple subclouds and, ultimately, tiny groups of untrackable chips. One response to these challenges may be to mandate installation of a transponder on each spacecraft. Directional transponder transmission detections could be used as angle observations for orbit cataloging. Of course, such an approach would only be employable with cooperative spacecraft. In other cases, a probabilistic association approach may be useful, with the goal being to establish the probability of any element being at a given point in space. This would permit more reliable assessment of the probability of collision of active spacecraft with any cloud element.


Descriptors :   *PAYLOAD , *SITUATIONAL AWARENESS , *SPACE OBJECTS , *SPACECRAFT , ARTIFICIAL SATELLITES , DEPLOYMENT , HIGH ALTITUDE , MISSIONS , ORBITS , SPACE ENVIRONMENTS , THREATS , TRACKING , TRANSPONDERS


Subject Categories : Unmanned Spacecraft


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE