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Proceedings Paper

Low earth orbit identification of space asset threats
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Paper Abstract

Low earth orbit space assets, such as communications satellites, may become the targets of threats in the form of nearby (meters away) satellites. Such threats, due to their often small size, are referred to as micro-sats. Knowledge of the pres-ence of a micro-sat near an asset, in particular its size and relative location, may prove invaluable in determining the danger that the threat presents. Few commercial satellites are launched with the on-board capability to detect the pres-ence of such threats. Complex imaging systems with adaptive optics offer the possibility of threat detection but at prohi-bitive cost for regular use. This paper introduces a non-imaging approach with considerably less expense than adaptive optics based systems. In a previous paper1 the authors presented a novel concept to distinguish between symmetric and oblong objects using a rotating far-field beam pattern. This current paper modifies the approach to consider a far-field pattern that consists of two beams, offset in angle, with one rotating about a stabilized central beam. Creation of the spilt-beams in not difficult optically and rotation may be achieved using a K-mirror. The reflected signal viewed as a time-series, will exhibit a spike when the rotating portion passes over a threat and the angular separation will determine the proximity of the threat to the asset.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 February 2009
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 7296, Fifteenth International Symposium on Atmospheric and Ocean Optics/Atmospheric Physics, 729605 (11 February 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.820964
Show Author Affiliations
Susan M. Chandler, Nukove Scientific Consulting, LLC (United States)
Gordon W. Lukesh, Nukove Scientific Consulting, LLC (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7296:
Fifteenth International Symposium on Atmospheric and Ocean Optics/Atmospheric Physics
Gennadii G. Matvienko; Yurii N. Ponomarev, Editor(s)

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