With the rise of foreign counterspace capabilities, the US National Security Space community has initiated a strategic realignment of its space surveillance capabilities to enable them to better support requirements of the Space Battle Management Command and Control (Space BMC2) mission. This realignment includes the deployment of several new ground and space-based sensors used to enhance the US ability to collect observations of on-orbit objects. Going forward, the US plans to deploy even more ground and space sensors to further enhance the ability to maintain tracks of on-orbit objects.
The significant increase in the quantity of observations provided by these new sensor capabilities demands the development of new approaches to observation processing, operator displays, and the development of appropriate new tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) and operator training plans. However, there are minimal sets of real-world, radar and telescope observations available to test out these TTPs and to train operators on their execution. To address the shortfall in realistic observations of on-orbit events, a.i. solutions has developed a physics based, Observation Simulator (ObsSIM) that can provide realistic observation sets to reflect potentially hostile adversary maneuvers and other space events.
a.i. solutions’ ObsSIM capability models both ground-based and space-based sensors. Ground-based sensors include dedicated and contributing radars, dedicated and contributing telescopes, and space-based sensors. Additional ground-based or space-based sensors can be quickly added to ObsSIM to represent new or potential future space surveillance capabilities.
Periodically, ObsSIM takes the current element set for each modeled RSO and propagates the orbit to determine when a sensor has visibility of a tasked RSO. The visibility windows account for range constraints, solar lighting constraints, sensor slew rates, and required dwell times. Simulated observations are both time-tagged and tagged with the sensors making the collection.
ObsSIM utilizes a.i. solutions’ FreeFlyer commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software application used widely in satellite mission analysis, design, and operations. FreeFlyer has been used to support the design, development and operations of over 225 space missions for Air Force, NASA and commercial customers.