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The Joint Milli-Arcsecond Pathfinder Survey (J-MAPS) Mission: Application for Space Situational Awareness

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Conference paper

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Rapid and accurate threat assessment and characterization are key elements in the quest for space superiority. These often depend on rapid orbit determination, accurate orbit propagation and object characterization. Threat scenarios involving new launches or vehicle maneuvers demand rapid and precise position metrics to determine and propagate new orbital elements. Existing and planned ground and space-based optical surveillance systems are optimized for the detection of Resident Space Objects RSOs, which unfortunately, compromises their ability to determine position metrics at the highest possible accuracy levels. A Space Situational Awareness SSA architecture would potentially benefit from supplementing existing and planned detection assets with a dedicated high metric accuracy orbit determination asset or assets, with the potential for 247 taskability and near-real time capability. By optimizing an instrument to perform position measurement rather than detection, significant improvement may be realized in rapid orbit determination vs. current and envisioned systems, enabling rapid and accurate threat assessment and characterization. The United States Naval Observatory USNO is developing the space-based J-MAPS mission to support current and future star catalog and star tracker requirements. By its very nature, USNOs J-MAPS mission, a microsatellite designed to take very high precision measurements of star positions astrometry, is ideally suited to make high metric accuracy measurements for brighter GEO RSOs. The J-MAPS mission will demonstrate novel and innovative measurement techniques and technologies, including new focal plane technologies such as CMOSHybrid active pixel sensors. The J-MAPS baseline also includes a novel filter-grating wheel, of interest in the area of non-resolved object characterization.

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  • Astronomy
  • Optical Detection and Detectors
  • Optics

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