Findings from the UK and Canadian Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Experimentation during the Relocation of SKYNET 5A Satellite


  1. Ash, A.
  2. Scott, L.
  3. Feline, W.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Ottawa Research Centre, Ottawa ON (CAN)
This paper describes the planning, execution, analysis and lessons identified from a collaborative Space Situational Awareness (SSA) experiment to observe the SKYNET 5A satellite during a series of orbital manoeuvres that occurred in the summer of 2015. In March 2015 Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS) announced its intention to relocate the SKYNET 5A satellite from the Atlantic to the Asia Pacific region to increase its global coverage; this provided an opportunity to observe this high value asset to explore the challenges and technical solutions related to deep space SSA. Within the UK the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl, part of the UK Ministry of Defence) were established as the lead agency to plan the observation campaign utilising operational and emerging experimental SSA capabilities. The campaign was then expanded to involve Canada, the United States and Australia under the auspices of the Combined Space Operations (CSpO) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further explore the coordination of observations between operational systems and potential fusion of data collected using experimental SSA assets. The focus for this paper is the collaborative work between Dstl and Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) that featured a period of experimentation to explore methods that enable cross cueing between ground-based and space-based SSA sensors, namely the UK Starbrook facility (located on the island of Cyprus), and NEOSSat/ Sapphire space surveill
Space Surveillance;Sapphire;NEOSSat
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2016-N052 — External Literature
Date of publication
28 Apr 2017
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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