Enhancing space situational awareness using a 3U CubeSat with optical imager
Flanagan, Jason A.
Newman, James H.
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Space situational awareness is extremely important in order to maintain the safety and usability of earth-orbiting satellites, as well as protecting astronauts living and working in space. Traditional space situational awareness is achieved using ground-based radar and optical sensors. This thesis explores the feasibility of space-based space situational awareness using a 3U CubeSat with an optical imager to augment the Space Surveillance Network by capturing conjunctions in space, from which ephemeris data of earth orbiting objects can be updated to more accurately predict future orbital positions. Work completed includes preliminary work towards building, testing, and using a Colony II Bus emulator and interface mechanism, allowing smooth payload and bus integration. Analysis of orbital trajectories for a reference orbit and potential crossing satellites provides insight into the capabilities of the SSA CubeSat. Future work is discussed.
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