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XGEO Spacecraft Observation Methods Using Ground-Based Optical Telescopes

Presentation #203.01 in the session Instrumentation I.

Published onJul 01, 2023
XGEO Spacecraft Observation Methods Using Ground-Based Optical Telescopes

The space industry is prospering – from the recent success of the first segment of the Artemis program to NASA’s upcoming Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative preparing for nine excursions to the Moon. Consequently, it is imperative to adapt today’s satellite observation procedures used in orbits nearer to the Earth to expand to the area of space beyond GEO, or XGEO. However, there are longstanding challenges surrounding XGEO, such as the complexity of the three-body problem and its subsequent orbits and the difficulties in sensing objects many times more distant than GEO. These challenges render typical satellite tracking, detection, imaging, and observation generation techniques unusable.

This report details MITRE’s research into performing ground-based optical observations of XGEO spacecraft. Included are the results of MITRE’s XGEO collection campaign against more challenging targets, including the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), Artemis-1 spacecraft, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), and others. Additionally, we discuss MITRE’s revised XGEO telescope collection procedure, which includes how to track, detect, and image targets over the span of XGEO space, as well as updated data processing techniques to handle object correlation without the use of traditional methods, such as two-line element sets and standard propagation models, like SGP4. Our research includes an evaluation of the resulting metric observation data.

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