Real-time ground-based optical detection system for space debris

Marchant, Jonathan and Green, Simon F. and Dick, James (1996) Real-time ground-based optical detection system for space debris. In: Conference on Characteristics and Consequences of Orbital Debris and Natural Space Impactors, AUG 08-09, 1996, Denver, Co. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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There are many advantages to supplementing ground based radar debris detection systems with optical systems. For example: objects with a low radar signature can still be optically bright (and vice versa); in the field of space debris optical detection is less sensitive to range; the minimum detectable debris size for a given range is less than that for radar. Destructive debris can be as small as 1 cm, so any improvement in detection sensitivity towards this standard is important. To improve the accuracy of debris orbital elements, a real-time detection system might be preferable in contrast to one in which images are stored for post-observation (''daytime'') analysis. This is because more than one telescope is needed to lengthen the observing baseline and so increase the detected fraction of the debris orbit. Therefore, any software based at one telescope that recognises debris in its field of view, produces a first approximation of its orbit elements and alerts extra telescopes along track, must process its data quickly, and preferably during the same pass. A prototype of such a software system under development for use with a CCD camera at the Royal Greenwich Observatory's Satellite Laser Ranger at Herstmonceux, East Sussex, England, is outlined. The methods which the detection algorithm employs to handle data from the camera system are described, along with the limitations that the hardware and processing time impose on the physical nature of the problem.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: space debris; ground-based optical detection and tracking
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Faculties > Science Technology and Medical Studies > School of Physical Sciences > Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences
Depositing User: F.D. Zabet
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2009 18:12
Last Modified: 21 May 2014 10:48
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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