The U.S. Space Command maintains a positional catalog of over 8000 man-made space objects. The basis of this catalog is the observational data collected by a worldwide network of radars and optical sites known collectively as the U.S. Space Surveillance Network which is operated by the U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy. This network was developed following the launch of the first SPUTNIK in 1957 at which time the Air Force was given the task by the U.S. Congress of maintaining a catalog of all the detectable objects in space-active and inactive satellites, spent boosters and other miscellaneous jetsam that constitute the dangerous portion of the space debris population. The fundamental mission of the space surveillance network is to keep reliable, up-to-date information on all detectable resident space objects (RSOs) in space. The sensors in the network are primarily ground-based except for a recent sensor that was deployed in space. The capabilities of the network are described in this paper. Specific examples will be used to demonstrate that the space surveillance network constitutes a capable and extensive remote sensing system for resident space objects and debris.
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R. Sridharan, R. Sridharan, Antonio F. Pensa, Antonio F. Pensa, } "U.S. Space Surveillance Network capabilities", Proc. SPIE 3434, Image Intensifiers and Applications; and Characteristics and Consequences of Space Debris and Near-Earth Objects, (18 November 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.331225; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.331225

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