Two Years of International Cooperation on Conjunction Mitigation

8th US/Russian Space Surveillance Workshop

Kelso, T.S., "Two Years of International Cooperation on Conjunction Mitigation," presented at the 8th US/Russian Space Surveillance Workshop, Maui, HI, 2010 April 21.


In an effort to mitigate the risks associated with satellite close approaches in the geostationary belt, several satellite operators came together in early 2008 to establish what is now known as the GEO Data Center. The GEO Data Center initially provided a framework for satellite operators to share orbital data for their fleets of satellites to be used to perform conjunction analysis and provide automated notification of close approaches via the SOCRATES-GEO system. After two years of operations, the GEO Data Center now has 14 members providing data for 184 satellites. Since the Iridium 33-Cosmos 2251 collision, a parallel system was set up with a LEO Data Center, which already has six members providing data for 101 satellites. These data centers have already shown the significant benefit of sharing orbital data, particularly in terms of reducing positional uncertainty and, thereby, the number of false alarms.

This paper will address the current framework for these efforts, highlighting how a service-oriented architecture is used to support orbital operations and increase efficiency of analysis and resolution of risk-mitigation tasks. It will show how the interactive work flow is used to quickly assess new maneuvers to determine whether they have successfully reduced the chances of a particular close approach without causing other close approaches elsewhere.

It will also show how independent space situational awareness organizations are being employed to provide a more complete picture of the threat from nonparticipating satellites and the debris population. Finally, a discussion of the ongoing research efforts to support further improvements in space situational awareness will be addressed.

Conference Materials