Optical surveys to characterize recent fragmentation events in GEO and HEO

Schildknecht, Thomas; Vananti, Alessandro; Cordelli, Emiliano; Flohrer, T. (2019). Optical surveys to characterize recent fragmentation events in GEO and HEO. In: Proceedings of 1st International Orbital Debris Conference. Sugar Land, Texas. December 9–12, 2019.

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Two major fragmentation events in GEO and HEO were observed in 2018. Based on measurements of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) and the Roscosmos Automated Warning System on Hazardous Situations in Outer Space (ASPOS OKP) a fragmentation of the Titan 3C Transtage 1969-013B, SSN #3692 on February 28, 2018 was
identified. More than 100 objects detected by optical instruments operated by ASPOS OKP, the Astronomical Scientific Center, ISON, ISTP RAS and other Russian scientific and research organizations could be clearly identified as fragmentation debris related to this event. Another massive fragmentation event in HEO related to the Atlas Centaur upper stage 2014-055B, SSN #40209, which occurred on August 30, was identified based on the same data sources. Many of the fragment of this event are crossing the operational GEO region. In March and April 2019 two additional breakup events of Atlas Centaur upper stages took place. Since October 2018 ESA is performing a coordinated survey campaign using its 1-m telescope at the OGS, Tenerife, complemented by sensors of the Swiss Optical Ground Station and Geodynamics Observatory Zimmerwald, Switzerland. The paper will describe the development of the survey strategy to search for additional fragments of the two
mentioned events, the execution of the actual observation campaign including the handover of newly discovered objects to other sensors and the subsequent follow-up observations, and the main results of and lessons learned from this campaign.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Astronomy

UniBE Contributor:

Schildknecht, Thomas, Vananti, Alessandro, Cordelli, Emiliano


500 Science > 520 Astronomy




Alessandro Vananti

Date Deposited:

05 Feb 2020 12:23

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:36





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