BEAM-PARK-EXPERIMENT-1/2000 WITH TIRA
D. BANKA, L. LEUSHACKE and D. MEHRHOLZ
FGAN-Research Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Technique, Neuenahrer Str. 20, D-53343
Wachtberg-Werthhoven, Germany (E-mail: email@example.com)
(Received 31 August 2001; Accepted 12 March 2002)
Abstract. A monostatic 24-h debris observation campaign (BPE-1/2000) has been prepared and conducted
using FGAN’s TIRA L-Band system. Based on experiences from previous Beam-park experiments a similar
largely automated data processing is applied on an extended range window of 300–2000 km. More than
1500 detections are encountered, 471 of them are veriﬁed as being real objects in Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO).
PROOF’s observation forecasting of catalogued objects is evaluated against the observed objects, and the
difﬁculties obtaining radar cross-sections (RCSs) and object sizes from Beam-park experiments are discussed.
Sidelobe detections are identiﬁed by using background information like two-line element (TLE) sets and/or
In comparison with previous experiments, the statistics show similarities conﬁrming the concept of Beam-
park experiments for space debris observations, despite the snapshot character of 24-h experiments. The
comparison with MASTER/PROOF’99 and ORDEM2000 leads to a reasonable agreement between models
Keywords: Beam-park experiment, Doppler inclination, MASTER/PROOF, ORDEM2k, Size Estimation
Model, sidelobe detections, space debris, TIRA
Abbreviations: BPE – Beam-park experiment; CPA – closest point of approach;
ESA – European Space Agency; FGAN – Research Establishment for Applied Science
ur angewandte Naturwissenschaften e.V.); GEO – Geosyn-
chronous Earth Orbit; LEO – Low-Earth-Orbit (200–2000 km altitude above sea level);
LOS – line of sight; MASTER – Meteroid and Space Debris Terrestrial Environment Refer-
ence by ESA; ORDEM – Orbital Debris Engineering Model by NASA; PROOF – Program
for Radar and Optical Observation Forecasting by ESA; RCS – radar cross-section; SSN –
Space Surveillance Network; S/N – signal-to-noise ratio; TLE – two-line elements; TIRA –
Tracking and Imaging Radar (at FGAN); USSPACECOM – U.S. Space Command.
The space debris situation is highly dynamic mainly due to a number of on-orbit break-ups
per year and several debris producing events per month. The observation of this environment
can be performed by optical or radar means.
Ideally the whole volume of the Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) should be observed at a single
point in time to obtain the most complete picture of the space debris situation possible.
Realistically one has to ﬁnd a balance between sensitivity and the size of the observation
Space Debris 2, 83–96, 2002.
© 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.