Space debris in low Earth orbit (LEO) below 1500 km is becoming an increasing threat to spacecrafts. To manage the threat, we are developing systems to improve the ground-based tracking and imaging of space debris and satellites. We also intend to demonstrate that it is possible to launch a high-power laser that modifies the orbits of the debris. However, atmospheric turbulence makes it necessary to use adaptive optics with such systems. When engaging with objects in LEO, the objects are available only a limited amount of time. During the observation window, the object has to be acquired and performance of all adaptive optics feedback loops optimised. We have implemented a high-level adaptive optics supervision tool to automatise time-consuming tasks related to calibration and performance monitoring. This paper describes in detail the current features of our software.
We report on the design and initial laboratory testing of the Adaptive Optics Imaging (AOI) system. AOI has been developed by the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) at the Australian National University (ANU), in partnership with the Space Environment Research Centre (SERC), for imaging satellites and debris in low Earth orbit (LEO) and geostationary orbit (GEO). From AO corrected images we will resolve features greater than 50 cm allowing size, shape and orientation characterisation.
As space debris in lower Earth orbits are accumulating, techniques to lower the risk of space debris collisions must be developed. Within the context of the Space Environment Research Centre (SERC), the Australian National University (ANU) is developing an adaptive optics system for tracking and pushing space debris. The strategy is to pre-condition a laser launched from a 1.8 m telescope operated by Electro Optics Systems (EOS) on Mount Stromlo, Canberra and direct it at an object to perturb its orbit. Current progress towards implementing this experiment, which will ensure automated operation between the telescope and the adaptive optics system, will be presented.
We present the status of the site-characterisation campaign at Mount Stromlo Observatory. The main goal of the project is to aid the development and operation of new adaptive optics (AO) systems for space debris tracking and pushing as well as satellite imaging. The main method we use for the characterisation is based on the SCIntillation Detection And Ranging (SCIDAR) technique. We have designed a unique version of the SCIDAR instrument: a stereo-SCIDAR system that uses a roof prism to separate beams from a double-star system to obtain two isolated pupil images on a single detector. The instrument is installed on the 1.8 m telescope of Electro-Optic Systems (EOS), sharing facilities with the adaptive optics systems we are currently building. The SCIDAR instrument will be operated intermittently, weather and availability permitting, until sufficient amount of data has been collected to characterise the site. This paper reports the current status of the project: we have recently started the commissioning phase and obtained first measurements with the instrument.
GMTIFS requires a deformable mirror (DM) as part of its on-instrument wavefront sensor (OIWFS). The DM facilitates wavefront correction for the off-axis natural guide star, with the objective being to maximize the energy in the diffraction core and improve the signal-to-noise ratio of the guide star position measurement. It is essential that the OIWFS be positionally stable with respect to the science field. The use of J–K to observe the guide star, and thus the need to limit thermal background, essentially requires the DM in the OIWFS to be operated at or below −40°C. This is below the standard operating temperature range of currently available DMs. In cooperation with the manufacturers we are testing the performance of three DMs at temperatures from ambient to −45°C, or cooler. In the context of the OIWFS adequate stroke, open-loop positioning stability, hysteresis, interactuator surface figure and dynamic response are key performance criteria. A test system based around high spatial sampling of the DM aperture with a Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensor has been built. The opto-mechanical design permits a DM to be contained in a cryostat so that it may be cooled in isolation. We describe this test system and the test cases that are applied to the ALPAO DM-69, Boston MicroMachines 492DM and the IrisAO PTT111 deformable mirrors. Preliminary results at ambient temperatures are presented.