Angles and Range: Initial Orbital Determination with the Air Force Space Surveillance Telescope (AFSST)
NAVAL OBSERVATORY FLAGSTAFF AZ
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The institution of a robust, comprehensive program of Space Situational Awareness SSA necessarily includes observations by ground-based optical and infrared OIR telescopes. The Air Force Space Surveillance Telescope AFSST has been proposed as a system of telescopes designed to address the ground-based component of comprehensive SSA. A hallmark of our definition of AFSST is that it be composed of inexpensive, replicable telescopes programmed to accomplish multiple surveillance programs, but designed to achieve the difficult design-driving task of accomplishing an uncued search for small objects in Low Earth Orbit LEO. We discuss the configuration of AFSST and describe one technique by which AFSST simultaneously acquires angle and range data for accurate real-time determination of LEO orbital elements, even upon first detection of the object.
- Infrared Detection and Detectors
- Unmanned Spacecraft