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Kratos Defense & Security Solutions is to offer data services to characterize spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) – a capability for great value for space domain awareness (SDA).

Available to government and industry, services will provide highly accurate proximity operation data, real-time manoeuvre detection and accurate location data, referred to as ephemeris. Services offering high rates of refresh for closely-tracked spacecraft will also be available.

Kratos will identify and accurately locate spacecraft in GEO using a powerful SDA technique called Passive RF Ranging. Traditionally, the ephemeris of a unique spacecraft at GEO is derived from data obtained through ground-based radars and optical telescopes, which are frequently unable to correctly differentiate between closely-spaced objects accurately enough to provide precise measurements, are unavailable during solar or weather exclusions, or are not geographically accessible. Kratos is not limited by these factors and can provide extremely accurate data related to the location of a spacecraft or multiple spacecraft at a specific moment in time, even when they are critically close – less than one kilometre away.

The measurements produced by Kratos’ RF Passive Ranging service are valuable because they are highly accurate, allowing operators and users to know exactly where the satellites are and where they will be with respect to each other. Accurate data during proximity operations provides critical insight to operators for vehicle safety,” explained Fred W Gaudlip, Senior Director of Space Domain Awareness Solutions. “Among the challenges for SDA is the capability to maintain active custody of specific spacecraft. Active custody includes determining when spacecraft go missing, regions to search for missing spacecraft and correctly identifying the right spacecraft as the previously missed object when finally found. Tracking spacecraft with high rate refreshes ensures unexpected spacecraft maneuvering will not affect maintaining original custody.”

Kratos’ extensive network consists of global RF monitoring sites, hosting fixed and steerable sensors and antennas in L, S, C, X, and Ku bands. The 24/7/365 Network Operations Center (NOC) is the central hub for monitoring and integrating raw RF data from the global sensor network. Advanced technologies developed by, and exclusive to, Kratos, have been integrated into all levels of this infrastructure, from custom algorithms employed in the sensor network, to industry-leading commercial applications used in the NOC for data monitoring, correlation and geolocation, as well as specially-developed analytics that provide the real meaning behind the raw data. The RF Ranging monitoring services are part of a portfolio of RF services offered to government and commercial customers, including end-to-end satellite RF monitoring, interference detection, geolocation and mitigation.

As space becomes more crowded, particularly in the GEO arena, so the requirement to be able to locate, identify, track and monitor spacecraft becomes more critical. (Image: MIT)

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