Commercially-Hosted Payloads for Debris Monitoring and Mission Assurance in GEO
AIR FORCE SPACE INNOVATION AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER SCHRIEVER AFB CO
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Space capabilities derived from the geosynchronous orbit GEO are unique and difficult to replicate in other orbital regions. Therefore, a premium is placed on the preservation of the GEO. An accurate understanding of the efficacy of debris mitigation measures is essential. Evidence seems to indicate retired systems in disposal orbits are shedding materials that transit the GEO region. In addition, there are concerns that counter-space activities could threaten critical services enabled by GEO-based systems. Commercially hosted optical payloads are a cost-effective approach to monitor the debris environment and they may deter possible interference with GEO-based operations. Use of commercially hosted payloads is highly synergistic with the United States National Space Policy which calls for increased commercial involvement, as well as international debris monitoring and space situational awareness data sharing. The detection performance of modest GEO-based payloads is significant when compared to low earth orbit based and ground-based telescopes. The geometry and persistence enabled by these payload systems have unique advantages. A parametric performance analysis is made as a function of optical system design variables. The debris detection capabilities for the GEO environment are described, and a notional architecture proposed and examined.
- Optical Detection and Detectors
- Unmanned Spacecraft