Space debris measurements using the advanced modular incoherent scatter radar
The Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (AMISR) is a modular, mobile UHF phased-array radar facility developed and used for scientific studies of the ionosphere. The radars are completely remotely operated and allow for pulse-to-pulse beam steering over their field-of-view. A satellite and debris tracking capability fully interleaved with scientific operations has been developed, and the AMISR systems are now used to routinely observe a large number of LEO space debris.
The system makes use of wide-bandwidth radar pulses and coherent processing to detect objects as small as 5-10 cm in size through LEO, achieving a range resolution better than 20 meters for LEO targets. The interleaved operations allow for ionospheric effects on UHF space debris measurements, such as dispersion, to be assessed. The radar architecture, interleaved operations, and impact of space weather on the measurements are discussed.