Detection of Artificial Satellites in Images Acquired in Track Rate Mode – Proceedings


  1. Lévesque, M.P.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Valcartier, Valcartier QUE (CAN)
For surveillance of space needs, satellites must be re-observed periodically to measure their position and update their orbital parameters. This represents an incredible volume of data for which an automatic processing capability is desired. Previous developments [1,2,3] produced automatic detection algorithms for images acquired in Step Stare mode (SSM) with sidereal tracking. However, it was proven that the track rate mode (TRM) [6] is more sensitive. Hence, the algorithmic framework was redesigned and applied to this mode. When an imaging sensor tracks a satellite (or a satellite cluster), the stars appear as streaks while the satellites are point-like objects. A series of algorithms was developed for the detection of satellites and star streaks. The centroids of the star streaks are first detected. They are necessary for the astrometric calibration of the image. Thereafter, the satellites are detected using two sets of logical conditions; they are detected with the maximum of sensitivity against the dark sky background, and with the contrast criteria if they are overlapping star streaks. This algorithm framework automatically extracts all required information from the image and adapts the processing parameters and strategy consequently, so no a priori knowledge is require for their execution, which is a requirement for automatic processing capacity.
Report Number
DRDC-VALCARTIER-SL-2011-351 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 Sep 2011
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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