Daytime Detection and Tracking of Objects in a Geosynchronous or Geo-transfer Orbit
ABSTRACT: In this research PDS plans to use existing telescopes and sensors at MSSS with minor modifications to detect and track Geosynchronous or Geo-transfer vehicles during daylight. The main obstacle to viewing satellites in daylight is the bright sky foreground. The bright foreground problem has been solved in the field of LWIR astronomy where the foreground signal is due to thermal self-emission from the atmosphere and from the telescope"s optics. LWIR astronomers use short integration times to avoid saturation, co-addition of image frames to reduce photon noise and chopping and nodding to eliminate the background and reduce calibration errors. We plan to use these same techniques with minor modification to image dim satellites in the daytime. BENEFIT: Maintaining line-of-site custody of newly launched objects in a GEO Transfer Orbit (GTO) and then inserted into GEO orbit and accurately tracking the position of that object to determine its orbital path including maneuvers or change detection is a critical objective of USSTRATCOM's Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC-Space) mission for space surveillance. PDS will utilize their past R & D experience on developing Maui Space Surveillance Site (MSSS) optical sensors and leverage existing analytical tools for daytime modeling and simulation to design an innovative, low-cost daytime deep-space object detection and tracking solution that can be demonstrated at MSSS. PDS proposes a low cost design solution through algorithm implementation and innovative collection techniques using existing MSSS assets and infrastructure.
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