Analysis of Galaxy 15 Satellite Images from a Small-Aperture Telescope
LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LAB CA
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Galaxy 15, a geostationary telecommunications satellite, ceased responding to ground operators commands on April 5, 2010. The satellite went into eastward longitudinal drift interfering with operation of other geostationary satellites. Before and after the control of Galaxy 15 was re-established on December 27, 2010, some optical observations of the satellite were conducted using a small-aperture telescope, at sidereal tracking rate, to derive more accurate orbital parameters for Galaxy 15. Here we present the optical imagery for Galaxy 15 satellite and analyze the data. Applying state-of-the-art streak extraction algorithm, and using batchsequential least squares orbital fitting, we quantify the orbital improvement derived from these data. In addition, we study photometric signatures of Galaxy 15 in both attitude-controlled and uncontrolled regimes, comparing the light curves. This case study demonstrates the usefulness of optical observations by smallaperture telescopes for improving the orbits of GEO satellites.
- Unmanned Spacecraft