Since early 2012 GMV has been collaborating with the French space agency (CNES) in its space-object-monitoring and -surveillance activities. This collaboration is being given under a framework space engineering contract that GMV has held with CNES since 2011.
In recent years there has been a growing concern about space debris as proliferation poses increasing peril for today’s orbiting space missions and also threatens the sustainability of future space activities.
CNES has been working on this matter for several decades now; as a result of this spadework France has now developed a legislative framework for space activities and boasts its own space-debris-observation and -detection capacity involving a telescope network and surveillance radar.
The CNES has therefore stepped up its activities in this field to comply with the new French legislative framework; it has now turned to GMV for support in this task, on the strength of GMV’s wealth of experience built up in numerous European Space Agency (ESA) projects for over a decade now.
One of the most important of GMV’s activities for CNES is development of a tool for estimating the space-debris re-entry date on the basis of fairly fuzzy orbital data published by the US government. Initially a prototype of this tool has been developed for later industrialization and operational use by CNES.
GMV is also currently leading activities to define a Space Situational Awareness (SSA) simulation test bed for analyzing the needs of a future operational system, including all the following: modeling of the space-object population trend, simulation of space-debris monitoring and detection sensors (radar and telescopes), processing the readings of these sensors for building up and maintaining a space-object catalogue, planning of the sensors and evaluating collision and reentry risk and detection of explosions and collisions between catalogued objects. This activity will continue over coming years with the development of this simulation test bed, in which GMV also expects to play a leading role.
GMV fully expects not only to cement but also extend these tasks with CNES and thus develop the capabilities and contributions of both in a vital field for the future of space activities.
Date: Feb 28, 2013