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Space Situational Awareness Satellites


Space Situational Awareness

With more business and investment in space infrastructure and services, many discussions, studies, and opportunities surrounding space situational awareness (SSA) occurred during 2016. Knowing what might happen or is happening around specific objects in space, such as satellites and space stations, is a key capability for many…

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2016 – Russia: SSA – Snapshot

The Russian Space Surveillance System (RSSS) consists of a network of ground-based radars and optical telescopes, operated by the Russian Defense Ministry’s Space Control Center (TSKKP), which is responsible for the nation’s space situational awareness (SSA). The RSSS sensors give the nation the ability to…

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2016 – European Commercial Space Surveillance – Snapshot

During 2016, European companies noted and seized opportunities within the business of space situational awareness (SSA). Europe’s continued growing dependence on services provided by an orbiting space infrastructure and desire for high-resolution European-based SSA data are presenting openings for…

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2016 – ESA: SSA – Snapshot

As more European-made satellites are launched into Earth’s orbit, more Europeans are realizing the importance of space traffic management (STM) and space situational awareness (SSA). The European Space Agency (ESA) continued to fund its own SSA program through 2016, which involves…

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2016 – Canada: Sapphire and NEOSSat – Snapshot

Two low Earth orbiting Canadian satellites, Sapphire and NEOSSat, provided spaceborne space situational awareness (SSA) for Canada during 2016. While they are both SSA satellites, they fulfill different SSA missions. Sapphire, a Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) satellite launched in 2013, is a part of the Canadian Space…

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2016 – U.S. Commercial Space Surveillance – Snapshot

With increased demands for space traffic management (STM) and space situational awareness (SSA), commercial companies, such as Schafer Corporation, formed businesses during 2016 to meet the demand. These commercial STM and SSA providers are building their own space object catalogs and using commercial sensor networks to…

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2016 – U.S.: ATRR, GSSAP, ANGELS, and SBSS – Snapshot

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) continued adding space situational awareness (SSA) satellites to the nation’s operational military SSA satellite inventory during 2016. By the end of the year, seven satellites made up the nation’s unclassified SSA fleet. These were the Automated Navigation and Guidance Experiment for Local Space (ANGELS), Advanced Technology…

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Ground Components

The United States currently operates the most capable SSA system, the Space Surveillance Network (SSN). The SSN is composed of stations based around the globe that use a combination of radar and optical information to track objects in orbit. The system has impressive abilities; it is able to detect objects the size of a basketball at an altitude of ## kilometers (## miles), and smaller objects closer to Earth.

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