A Method for Optical Tracking of On-Orbit Servicing Operations in Geostationary Orbit Using Speckle Interferometry


  1. Scott, R.L.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Ottawa Research Centre, Ottawa ON (CAN);Carleton Univ, Ottawa ONT (CAN)
On Orbit Servicing (OOS) is a class of space missions that could potentially extend the life of orbiting satellites by fuel replenishment, repair, orbital maintenance or satellite repurposing, and possibly reduce the rate of space debris generation. OOS performed in geostationary orbit poses a unique challenge for the optical space surveillance community. OOS satellites performing close proximity operations with separations less than 1 km in geosynchronous orbit subtend an angle comparable to the angular size of atmospheric seeing (turbulence) cells as viewed by a ground-based observer. This degrades the ability of a ground-based observer from resolving a geostationary satellite pair in order to perform astrometric measurements on the objects’ relative positions. In this research, a speckle-interferometric observational approach designed to detect and estimate the relative orbits of servicing satellites about their client is described. It was found that the use of the cross-spectrum of speckle imagery and extraction of its imaginary component provides unambiguous measurables useful for relative orbit estimation for closely-spaced satellites. This approach is enabled by the availability sensitive Electron Multiplying CCD (EMCCD) cameras which permit the detection of very faint speckles from an astronomical source. This thesis describes an observational model, the speckle-imaging acquisition process, an image-processing algorithm and experimental test results pertaining to th
space surveillance;space object identification;speckle interferometry;on orbit servicing;on orbit inspection
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2016-P013 — External Literature
Date of publication
01 Sep 2015
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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