Traffic which was common on Earth is now expanding into space around our planet with nearly 22,000 artificial satellites in orbit that are functional and also debris of satellites that are dysfunctional. To ensure that these objects do not collide against each other Basingstoke Astronomical Society’s amateur astronomers have been assisting Ministry of Defense to explore possibility of using high end equipment to track objects in the region. The details of this collaboration will be revealed in detail by Grant Privett from Defense Science and Technology Lab (DSTL) at Royal Astronomical Society’s Lancaster based meeting of Lancaster.
These amateurs used commercial telescopes, DSLR cameras mounted on tripods and also low light cameras for recording images of satellites that are capable of recording images of satellites like the International Space Station, Cryosat and the Remove Debris program. They first collected accurate time stamps of these images and then process the data by comparing the data with expected obits data provided by astronomers. After the study DSTL was pleased to see that orbit satellites in low earth that were in the size of mini kitchen freezers were capable of monitoring their positions and maintaining accurate orbits.
Mr. Privett explained that the accuracy of small aperture timing is very critical to maintaining accurate orbit and BAS astronomers were doing a very good job of keeping every attention to detail. The researchers found that there are no impediments to using commercial kit for providing small component of a capable and diverse system for space monitoring. The ability for relatively low cost and its easy approach to deployable content and gathering of data is being closely examined to ensure that DSTL can provide the best guidance and advisory services to government of Britain for procurements in future. The complete technical details of its collaboration will be published towards end of this year.