Current status and developments of the ISON optical network Igor

Russian Academy of Sciences
Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics
Current status and developments
of the ISON optical network
Igor Molotov, Vladimir Agapov
Sixth European Conference on Space Debris
22 - 25 April 2013, ESA/ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany
International Scientific Optical Network (ISON)
• ISON is an open international non-government project
developed to be an independent source of data about
space objects for scientific analysis and SSA
• Additional scientific goals – asteroids and GRB afterglows
• ISON joins 33 observation facilities of various affiliation
with 60 telescopes in 14 countries that produced already
about 15 millions measurements on 3500 objects
• Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics of the Russian
Academy of Sciences (KIAM) maintains 35% more
complete GEO-object database than public TLE data and
provides conjunction analysis for Roscosmos GEO satellites
• ISON uses standard software for telescope control and
CCD image processing
ISON Research Goals in Space Debris Area
• Estimation of real population of space debris at higher
geocentric orbits
• Determination of physical properties of discovered space
debris objects
• Determination of probable sources of newly discovering
space debris fragments
• Verification of existing models of space debris
distribution and evolution at higher orbits
• Higher orbit space debris risk assessment
• Improvement of technologies of studying of space debris
population using optical instruments
• Improvement of motion models for space debris objects
with complex physical properties
Map of ISON observatories
ISON structure
• 5 telescope subsets
- global GEO survey (down to 15.5m)
- tracking of the faint (fainter than 15.5m) space debris at
- tracking of bright GEO and HEO objects
- HEO survey and extended GEO survey
- asteroids researches
• 3 network operation supporting groups:
- optical telescope and mount design & production
- observatory software elaboration
- observation planning and data processing
Global GEO survey subsystem: 8 of 22 cm, 4
of 25 cm and 1 of 50 cm telescopes with FOV
of 3.5- 5.5 degree
Planning of GEO survey observations: a few strips
covering selected declination range
Distribution of the catalogued GEO objects in right
ascension – declination plane
Global GEO survey subsystem:
• 12 small survey automated telescopes across the
globe + one 50-cm telescope near Barcelona
• centralized scheduling at KIAM
• each telescope is surveying visible part of GEO and
provides a few thousands measurements for a few
hundreds objects per night
• duration of tracks is varying between 15 and 40
• these surveys produce measurements for all bright
GEO-objects supporting the maintenance of KIAM
• many uncatalogued fragments and objects of new
GEO launches are detecting
• many HEO objects are detecting as background ones
Subsystem for faint debris tracking:
AT-64 Nauchny-1, RC-800 Mayaki, S-600 Andrushivka, AZT-8
Gissar, AZT-14 Mondy, Zeiss-600 Arkhyz, ORI-40 in Kitab,
ORI-40 in Khuraltogot
Adjustment of faint fragment survey
• Installation of CCD camera with 50-mm chip at
50-cm ORI-50 telescope resulted in 2.5x2.5 deg
FOV and provided ability to cover fields with the
highest density of known fragment trajectories
• Ussuriysk ORI-50 participated in discovering of
about 200 non-catalogued objects during 2011
Subsystem for tracking of bright GEO and HEO
objects: GAS-250 in Ussuriysk, BNC-250 in Uzhgorod,
Sajen-TM in Arkhyz, ORI-25 in Blagoveschensk, ORI-25 in
Tiraspol, ORI-25 in Kislovodsk, PH-1 n Nauchniy-1,
AZT-28 in Priozersk, TAL-250 in Barnaul
HEO survey (Nauchniy-1 and Kislovodsk) and
extended GEO survey (Khuraltogot, Sanglokh,
Kislovodsk and Nauchniy-1) consist of telescopes
with FOV of 7 degree
Planning of extended GEO survey observations:
many strips selects providing more frequent passes of
GEO during night
Distribution of the catalogued GEO objects in right
ascension – declination plane
Extended GEO surveys
• four 18-19.2 cm automated survey telescopes with
FOV of 7x7 degree
• centralized scheduling at KIAM
• each telescope is surveying visible part of GEO and
provides up to 15 thousands measurements for 500 700 objects per night
• duration of object tracks is up to a few hours
• these surveys allows to KIAM to determine more
precise GEO orbits for conjunction analysis, to detect
maneuvers of active satellites and to help maintain
the orbits of GEO objects in clusters
• many HEO objects are detecting as background ones
Extended GEO surveys. Measurement arc length.
Sanglok VT-78e.
Growing amount of measurements
collected by ISON, 2003 – 2012
ISON Database
of HEO, MEO and GEO objects
As of Feb 1, 2013 the ISON database contains information
for more than 3200 HEO, MEO and GEO objects with
orbits updating using ISON optical measurements
897 of these objects are newly discovered during 10 years
of ISON work
270 HEO and GEO space debris objects are discovered in
2012 (compare to 168 ones discovered in 2011 and 61
– in 2010).
HEO, MEO and GEO Objects
in ISON Database
Objects associated with
Molniya-type orbit launches
Objects associated
with GTO launches
Objects originated in GEO
Distribution of observing GEO objects
by period and inclination
Discovered fragments
GEO space debris population
Surprisingly, number of discoveries of relatively bright GEO
debris objects (brighter than 16 magnitude) continues to
grow. Every month, about 10 such new debris objects are
being discovered
Many of newly discovered GEO space debris are crossing or
permanently staying in the GEO protected region and
increase threat to operational spacecrafts. It is important to
discover as many such debris as possible and understand the
sources from which they are originating
It is expected that at least several hundreds more of GEO
space debris brighter than 17 magnitude (which corresponds
to 40-50 cm size exist in the GEO region. Number of fainter
(and thus smaller) objects is not yet estimated correctly
Six dedicated mini-observatories for space
debris observations under grant of
• Six dedicated observation facilities with 3 telescopes
in each (four EOP-1: 40-cm, 25 cm and 2x19.2 cm
and two EOP-2: 65-cm, 40-cm and 4x19.2 cm)
• Two separate telescopes – 50-cm and 65-cm
• Modernization of 2.6-m and 1-m Schmidt telescope
of Buryakan observatory in Armenia
• Designing of 0.8 m and 1.6-m telescopes
• KIAM expeditions visited Argentina, Armenia, Brazil,
Bulgaria, Far East of Russia, Italy, Mexico, Central
Asia, Mongolia, North Caucasus, Venezuela to select
places for new observation facilities installation
Observatory ISON-Kislovodsk,
North Caucasus
Dedicated mini-observatory EOP-2: 65-cm, 40-cm
and 4x19.2 cm telescopes
Planning locations of mini-observatories EOP-1/EOP-2
Forms of collaboration with ISON
• Joint observation campaigns to exchange the
obtained results
• Installation of ISON telescopes to share the data
• Modernization of non-operational obsolete
• Production of telescope under scientific grants
for future joint observations
• Service on provision of orbital data
• Service on conjunction analysis
• Participation at UN supported ISON conferences
• First international network for high near-Earth
orbits monitoring was created
• ISON network collects on a routine basis
measurements for more than 1800 objects in
GEO region and more than 1400 objects at HEO
• Unique KIAM database (about 15 millions of
measurements) is using for scientific analysis
and applied tasks, including spaceflight safety
• Development of ISON continues and everyone is
welcome to participate
ISON web site:

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