Radar Systems for Monitoring Objects in Geosynchronous Orbit


  1. Livingstone, C.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Ottawa, Ottawa ONT (CAN)
Current deep-space surveillance systems are incapable of detecting small (~30cm) debris objects in the geosynchronous orbit belt that contains active geostationary satellites. Because of battery and residual fuel explosions in derelict spacecraft and rocket bodies in this orbit regime, small debris objects are expected to exist and to pose a hazard to the increasing population of geostationary satellites. Possible ground and space based radar sensors have been examined as part of a larger exploration of alternatives for systems to perform deep-space object detection and orbit determination for small, geosynchronous debris objects in the context of Canadian contributions to the Space Surveillance Network following the demise of the Sapphire space surveillance satellite circa 2019. A first-order investigation of possible ground-based radars, designed under the small target detection and tracking constraint, shows that cost roughly tracks capability as the complexity of possible solutions ranges from: a deep-space radar upgrade to a large radio telescope (ROM cost $5M to$10M), to a purpose-designed dish-antenna deep-space radar (ROM cost $100 M to $150 M), to an electronically-steered-array radar (ROM cost $1.5 B to $2.0 B). The cost figures are guesses that are based on the costs for systems with related complexity. First-order investigations of possible space-based deep-space surveillance systems examine the concepts of using a secondary sensor payload on a geostationary satel

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Report Number
DRDC-OTTAWA-TR-2013-009 — Technical Report
Date of publication
01 Jun 2013
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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