Space debris mapping services for use by LEO satellite operators
Space situational awareness (SSA) is key to mission success for satellites operating across all orbital regimes. Current operators generally rely on government owned radars and services to provide conjunction data messages (CDMs) in order to perform conjunction assessment (CA) and protect their assets. These current services are limited in their transparency, timeliness, and machine-to-machine interactivity with an operator’s CA system. However, new technology has been developed for operators with satellites in low earth orbit (LEO) which supplements existing services.
Commercial space debris mapping services have the ability to provide operators with up-to-date information about any object currently tracked by their privately owned phased array radars. One of the many advantages of these new services is the ability for an operator to send requests and receive information about space objects without the need for human feedback loops, which can take hours or even days. By eliminating this need, operators can acquire accurate and timely information about a given space object, such as tracking data and ephemerides, providing the information necessary to confirm or deny the need for a collision avoidance (COLA) maneuver.