21 May 2013 Laser ranging with the MéO telescope to improve orbital accuracy of space debris
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Improving orbital accuracy of space debris is one of the major prerequisite to performing reliable collision prediction in low earth orbit. The objective is to avoid false alarms and useless maneuvers for operational satellites. This paper shows how laser ranging on debris can improve the accuracy of orbit determination. In March 2012 a joint OCA-Astrium team had the first laser echoes from space debris using the MéO (Métrologie Optique) telescope of the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur (OCA), upgraded with a nanosecond pulsed laser. The experiment was conducted in full compliance with the procedures dictated by the French Civil Aviation Authorities. To perform laser ranging measurement on space debris, the laser link budget needed to be improved. Related technical developments were supported by implementation of a 2J pulsed laser purchased by ASTRIUM and an adapted photo detection. To achieve acquisition of the target from low accuracy orbital data such as Two Lines Elements, a 2.3-degree field of view telescope was coupled to the original MéO telescope 3-arcmin narrow field of view. The wide field of view telescope aimed at pointing, adjusting and acquiring images of the space debris for astrometry measurement. The achieved set-up allowed performing laser ranging and angular measurements in parallel, on several rocket stages from past launches. After a brief description of the set-up, development issues and campaigns, the paper discusses added-value of laser ranging measurement when combined to angular measurement for accurate orbit determination. Comparison between different sets of experimental results as well as simulation results is given.
© (2013) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
L. Hennegrave, L. Hennegrave, M. Pyanet, M. Pyanet, H. Haag, H. Haag, G. Blanchet, G. Blanchet, B. Esmiller, B. Esmiller, S. Vial, S. Vial, E. Samain, E. Samain, J. Paris, J. Paris, D. Albanese, D. Albanese, "Laser ranging with the MéO telescope to improve orbital accuracy of space debris", Proc. SPIE 8739, Sensors and Systems for Space Applications VI, 87390J (21 May 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2015365; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2015365

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