Since more than 10 years there is evidence that small-size space debris is accumulating in the geosynchronous orbit (GEO), probably as the result of breakups. Two break-ups have been reported in GEO. The 1978 break-up of an EKRAN 2 satellite, SSN 10365, was identified in 1992, and in 1992 a Titan 3C Transtage, SSN 3432, break-up produced at least twenty observable pieces. Subsequently several nations performed optical surveys of the GEO region in the form of independent observation campaigns. Such surveys suffer from the fact that the field of view of optical telescopes is small compared with the total area covered by the GEO ring. As a consequence only a small volume of the orbital element-magnitude-space is covered by each individual survey. Results from these surveys are thus affected by observational biases and therefore difficult to compare. This paper describes the development of a common search strategy to overcome these limitations. The strategy optimizes the sampling for objects in orbits similar to the orbits of the known GEO population but does not exclude the detection of objects with other orbital planes. A properly designed common search strategy clearly eases the comparison of results from different groups and the extrapolation from the sparse (biased) samples to the entire GEO environment.
Space Debris – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 8, 2004
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