Cubesat payload to perform visual satellite observations

From: Nicholas Hahn (knotnic@yahoo.com)
Date: Wed Aug 01 2012 - 21:11:30 UTC

  • Next message: Jon Mikel: "SATOBS 01/08/2012"

    I just learned that one of the cubesats that's piggybacking on the NROL-36 
    launch will in fact be performing visual observations of satellites and space 
    debris, with the purpose of reducing errors in orbital elements from ~1000m to 
    <100m.  The STARE cubesat is a pathfinder to prove out the algorithms and 
    operational concept; ultimately up to 18 would be launched with better optics 
    but still a nanosat form factor.
    
    I though folks here might be interested in the following detail documents 
    because although it's being done from orbit they have to do the same basic 
    processing as a ground observer - capture a starfield and track, and find the 
    beginning and endpoints to determine the target object position  The difference 
    is they will be within 100 km of their targets and above the atmosphere.  In 
    particular the second one below describes an algorithm some of the more clever 
    people here could maybe implement to get "sub-pixel accuracy" from photographic 
    observations.
    
    * Article summarizing the satellite & mission: 
    https://str.llnl.gov/AprMay12/pdfs/4.12.1.pdf
    * Article describing (in surprising detail) the optical payload and algorithms: 
    https://e-reports-ext.llnl.gov/pdf/473852.pdf
    * Master's Thesis describing the satellite & conops development: 
    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA556715
    
    Hope this is useful and somewhat on-topic for this list.  I'm a casual observer 
    living under some intense light pollution in the DC metro area, but have learned 
    a lot by lurking on SEESAT-L.
      Nick
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