Space Situational Awareness
Focusing on optical Tracking Ground Stations
To maintain the space domain as healthy as possible.
SSA - Space Situational Awareness &
SST - Space Surveillance and Tracking
Ground-based Optical Systems for SSA and SST
SSA deals with current and future knowledge of space events, threats, activities and space system status capabilities to enable decision makers to gain and maintain the space domain as healthy as possible.
Space Situational Awareness is today one of the major topics of the New Space Economy. We could translate it into “space surveillance”, indicating those activities that, thanks to sophisticated and cutting edge scientific instrumentation, help “monitor” what happens in the Space around the Earth.
If, on one hand, observing the Earth from Space brings countless advantages for human lives (smart agriculture, prevention and management of natural disasters, borders and seas control, etc), on the other, the increase in the space activities, will soon bring to a congestion of the Space around the Earth.
A greater awareness of what happens in the outer Space, means being able to monitor in real time the position of the orbiting objects, optimizing the positioning maneuvers, managing the lifetime and consequently avoiding the risk of collision with other objects. It also means being able to catalogue the dismissed objects (debris) which could reveal to be risky for the other orbiting equipment (Space Surveillance and Tracking).
A large part of SST consists in tracking orbiting objects with the aim of creating a detailed database or catalog of such objects. This catalog will eventually form the basis of orbital evolution and conjunctions assessment, which is fundamental to the protection of active assets from collision.
Just to give a perception of the areas associeted with SST, the Orbital Space Debris Populastion comes from:
- Accidental collisions
- Deliberate collisions
- Other operations
SST activities help men studying, cataloguing, protecting orbital assets from all this.
These activities require the presence of a ground and space-based network of telescopes, capable of monitoring Space constantly, reporting in real time situations of risk. The Space Agencies around the world have already launched programs and allocated funds so that these networks can be implemented in a short time.
Officina Stellare is currently working on some of these international programs for SSA and has already numerous operative space telescopes in orbit.
The SSA scenario
What Officina Stellare can do
The scenario the world faces today
sees an already large number of orbiting objects, figures destined to grow in the future.
The available database of positions and orbits is out of date and incomplete.
Therefore, mapping and tracking possible threats becomes an urgent item for most countries.
This brief analysis brings the need for a tool to fix the position and trajectory of the assets during manoeuvres.
The need for proximity position data to estimate reaction time and operation entity to save resourses.
Today, sensitive radar systems still do the work of tracking resident space objects, but data come with inherent uncertainties.
What can be done?
Electro-Optical sensors are telescopes which are equipped with proper imager camera and a mount capable of fast pointing and tracking of non sideral objects, thanks to the higher angular resolution and faster response time they can deliver.
The data obtained, after software ananlys processing, enable the user to know the precise position of the asset and to detect possible threats.
Officina Stellare proposes a fully customized solution for Space Situational Awareness.
The software and hardware package we have developed is capable to interact with all subsystems – telescope, mount, imaging equipment – working over TCP/IP network to control local and remote measurement and observation sites.
Briefly, Officina Stellare offers its expertise by delivering:
- Large Diameter telescopes to detect fainter objects
- Fast focal ratio and large corrected field of view
- High optical performances for increased resolution and higher position measurement precision.
- Wide spectral range and focal length versatility
- maintenance kept at minimum
- easy to carry, use and deploy systems. Officina Stellare’s package for SSA includes also:
- Planning measurements, imaging activities and deconflicting overlaps along the time;
- multiple input source data management;
- automatically process and standardize input data;
- measured orbital position data;
- propagation of orbital position data;
- collision probability evaluation.