Uncued Faint Object Detection in LEO and GEO

Period of Performance: 07/11/2013 - 10/12/2015

$730K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Pacific Defense Solutions, LLC
1300 N. Holopono St Suite 116
Kihei, HI 96753
Principal Investigator

Abstract

ABSTRACT: This research plans to use existing MSSS sensors to investigate methods to detect and track faint objects (greater than or equal to 14th visual magnitude) in any orbit around the Earth using ground-based electro-optics sensors, without prior knowledge of the object's orbit. The basic technique is to image part of the sky with a wide field-of-view detector. Processing algorithms will be developed to detect objects in earth orbit as they pass through the image. Slow moving objects will appear as a short streaks or points in successive image frames. Faster objects my pass completely through a single frame leaving only a streak. An initial estimate of the orbit will be made from these images. Methods to increase the accuracy of this initial estimate will be studied. Possible methods include: tasking an agile telescope or looking for the track in another, nearby staring sensor. BENEFIT: PDS is leveraging their experience on developing operational dim object detection algorithms for wide field-of-view (WFOV) optical system, such as Pan-STARRS and the Air Force's Space-based Space Surveillance (SBSS) system. PDS's proposed innovative processing algorithms for dim object detection will benefit USSTRATCOM's Space Surveillance mission by increasing the awareness of the space volume with the capability of providing initial orbit determination for follow-on tracking of previously uncorrelated objects.