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OPS Forum SSA Preparatory Programme 05.12.2008
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OPS Forum SSA Preparatory Programme 05.12.2008

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The Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Preparatory Programme, a new initiative of the Agency, was accepted at the November 2008 Ministerial Conference in The Hague as a new optional programme of the …

The Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Preparatory Programme, a new initiative of the Agency, was accepted at the November 2008 Ministerial Conference in The Hague as a new optional programme of the Agency covering the time frame 2009-11.


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  • 1. SSA Programme OPS-G Forum 5 th December 2008, ESOC, Darmstadt N.Bobrinsky, ESA
  • 2. Need for a European SSA System
    • Space assets have become indispensable enablers for a wide spectrum of applications. The European independent utilisation of space for research or services depends on the capability to safely operate the European space infrastructures.
    • SSA serves the implementation of the strategic missions of the European Space Policy based on peaceful use of outer space by all states, by supporting the autonomous capacity to securely and safely operate the critical European space infrastructures
    • Space based capabilities are indispensable to realise this commitment in an effective manner . The dependency on these space based assets will grow , as evident also outside Europe. This dependency raises concerns, because any shutdown of even a part of the space infrastructure would have major consequences for economic activities and would considerably impair the organisation of e.g. emergency services.
    • SSA also serves the EU “Lisbon objectives” by supporting the development of new applications, new jobs and new market opportunities in the space sector
    • Space Situational Awareness can be seen as a basis for any future measures (political, diplomatic, regulatory, technical) to guarantee access to space
  • 3. Initials steps in establishing a European SSA System
    • Initial studies: ESA has performed in 2006-2008 several industrial studies, the outcome of which was:
      • the compilation of a SSA Users’ Needs list (established by a selected group of Users Representatives)
      • The translation of these needs into technical requirements
      • the identification of high level architectural options
      • the identification of potential technological gaps
    • SSA URG important role: A Users' representatives group continuously supports ESA in this initiative. The Group is composed by representatives of EU Military Staff, EDA, EC, Ministries of Defence of I, F, UK, E, D, B, N, by National Space Agencies of I, F, UK, E, D, B, N, CH, by the UN-WMO, by commercial operators (e.g. Inmarsat, Eutelsat) and insurance companies (e.g. MARSH). This User’s Group will continue its advisory role during the execution of the SSA Programme.
    • Formal go ahead for the Programme Proposal: Consultation of ESA Member States at Council level has taken place in December 2007. The SSA initiative has been very well received. As a result, an Enabling Resolution (March 2008) has mandated ESA to prepare a Programme Proposal for the ESA Ministerial Council in November 2008.
  • 4. Objectives and general context
    • The general objective is the establishment of a reliable and coherent SSA Programme covering the time frame 2009 – 2019. The first phase will consist of a SSA preparatory Programme and will cover the period 2009 - 2011
      • 2009 - 2011 : Governance, Data Policy
      • Requirements, architecture of the future European SSA system, delivery of precursor services
      • radar bread boarding, pilot Data Centres
      • Phase 2 (2012 – 2019): Implementation of a fully operational European SSA system
    • The first part of this Programme, the SSA Preparatory Programme , has been prepared for approval at the MC 2008, and has been approved !
    • The second part of this Programme, the SSA-Phase 2, will be prepared during 2011, taking into account the results of the SSA preparatory Programme, and is planned to be submitted to the approval of ESA Member States at the MC2011 (tbc). It will cover the timeframe 2012-2019.
  • 5. The four domains of the European SSA System
    • The European SSA System can be broken down in four distinct domains:
    • Survey and Tracking of objects in Earth-bound orbits
    • Imaging
    • Space Weather
    • Near Earth Objects (NEOs): hazardeous asteroids and comets
    • During the preparatory Programme (2009 – 2011), only Survey and
    • Tracking , as well as Space Weather and NEOs domains will be addressed.
    • The Imaging of space targets, especially from sensors in Space will be
    • addressed at a later stage (phase 2, as from 2012), once the governance,
    • data policy and data security matters will have been solved.
  • 6. European SSA – high level overview Ground-based Radar and Optical Sensors Ground-based Space Weather Sensors Space Sensors SSA Center(s) User 1 User 2 User 3 User X User 5 User 4 SSA Data Policy
  • 7. European SSA System – Functional Diagram
  • 8. European SSA System – Functional Diagram
  • 9. Survey and Tracking (1)
    • Survey and Tracking Services
      • Detection and Tracking of objects in Earth-bound orbits (LEO, MEO,
      • GEO, HEO)
      • Identification and correlation of tracked objects
      • Establishment of a catalogue
      • Tasking of radar and optical sensors for follow-up observations
      • During the development / prototyping phase, distribution of optical and
      • radar tracking data, according to an agreed Data Policy
      • Identification of high-risk conjunctions between tracked objects, issue of
      • alerts and recommendations for avoidance manoeuvres
      • Prediction of high-risk re-entry events and initiation of alert procedures
      • detection of on-orbit explosions or collisions and issue of alerts
    • The Survey and Tracking Sensors can be very expensive (ca. 120 ME for
    • a ground-based surveillance radar, able to detect 10cm objects at 1000 Km)
  • 10. Survey and Tracking (2) Estimated number of objects in orbit Distribution and observability of space objects (MASTER 2005) optical difficult radar observability  15,000 to 38,000 km 120 to 2,000 km altitudes [km]  13.8 24.8 5.6 0.2 23.3 32.1 606,474 1 19.0 15.9 4.8 0.2 15.1 44.8 90,541 3 18.4 14.3 4.5 0.5 13.5 48.6 44,092 5 16.4 10.7 3.9 1.0 13.6 54.2 20,505 10 14.1 7.2 3.3 2.2 16.5 56.6 9,091 30 16.2 7.0 3.7 2.7 18.1 52.3 6,549 50 20.0 7.1 4.5 0.9 17.5 50.0 4,658 100 res.[%] trans.[%] res.[%] res.[%] trans.[%] res.[%] count d [cm] GEO MEO-H & GEO MEO-H MEO-L LEO space objects larger than d [cm]
  • 11. Survey and Tracking (3) Distribution of objects in Earth orbit
  • 12. Survey and Tracking (4) Sensors for surveillance and tracking (images provided by H.Klinkrad and H.Krag) Graves (France) – Bi-static surveillance radar
  • 13. Survey and Tracking (5) Sensors for surveillance and tracking FGAN (Germany) – tracking radar Zimmerwald (Switzerland) Tracking telescope
  • 14. Survey and Tracking (6) Sensors for surveillance and tracking Cobra Dane (USA) – surveillance and tracking radar AN/FPS-85 – Eglin AFB UHF: 442 MHz 32 MW peak power 5134 TX modules 4660 RX modules V acuum tube technology: upgrade to solid state studied in 1994
  • 15. Imaging (1)
    • Imaging services (not addressed during the SSA Preparatory Programme)
      • Imaging of objects in Earth-bound orbits (LEO, MEO, GEO, HEO )
      • Provision of information about the state of man-made space objects
      • Provision of information about the state (deployment, pointing , …) of
      • satellite appendages
      • Provision of information for the visualization and identification of space
      • objects
    • Imaging can be performed by means of radars or telescopes
  • 16. Imaging (2) Radar image of Envisat (2005)
  • 17. Imaging (3) 2007-Jun-19 ISS range: 350 km 0.64 m f9.6 Ritchey-Chretien Picture taken in Boston, US Optical image of the ISS (2007)
  • 18.
    • What is Space Weather about? Effects of the sun, of the solar wind, solar flares, status of magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere, cosmic radiation effects
    • Space Weather services
      • Spacecraft and payload operations’ radiation protection.
      • Thermosphere modelling for spacecraft drag calculation
      • Launcher radiation protection for operations
      • Space environment modelling for spacecraft design
      • Human space flight radiation protection
      • Ionospheric interference for navigation satellite signals
      • Space environment modelling for SSA survey and tracking
    • A significant amount of activities have been performed at ESTEC (lead E.Daly, R.Marsden, A.Hilgers, A.Glover) and at ESOC (lead A.Donati, F. di Marco and other staff from OPS-HS)
    Space Weather (1)
  • 19. Space Weather (2)
  • 20. Space Weather (3) – Source A.Donati/F. di Marco Affected by Local Space Environment Affected by Ionospheric Disturbances Affected by Geomag. Induced Currents Affected by Local Space Environment Affected by Ionospheric Disturbances Air Transport Services Affected by Geomag. Induced Currents Spacecraft Operations Services Launcher Support Human Spaceflight Support Science Missions Operations Services Navigation Services Communications Services Power Industry Services Survey, Oil & Gas Services Spacecraft Development Air Transport Services
  • 21. Space Weather – SEISOP high level view (3) (Space Environment System for s/c Operations) Source: A.Donati
  • 22. Space Weather resources (4) NASA ACE NOAA GOES Ground Based Magnetometers NASA/POLAR ESA/NASA SOHO NOAA/SEM L1 ESA Radiation Monitors Aurora GNSS Scintillation Network (CLS) Ionospheric monitoring (GPS TEC) Credit: E. Daly (ESA TEC-EES) The Space Weather resources will have to be augmented by European sensors and existing Centres (e.g G, B, F, N)
  • 23. Space Weather activities (5)
    • SEIS/SEISOP pilot projects, used at European Space Operations Centre since 2005.
      • Combination of data-provider of space weather services
      • Demonstrating the quantitative benefits of space weather services
      • These services could pre-figure what will be the Space Weather precursor operational services at the end of the preparatory phase of SSA (2011).
      • SWENET Project at ESTEC
  • 24.
    • What are the NEOs ? These are asteroids and comets that represent a risk of collision with the Earth. (Earth’s orbit crossing at a distance < 45 Millions KM)
    • Services in the domain of Near Earth Objects (NEOs)
      • Detection and tracking of all NEOs above a given size or risk threshold
      • Determination of the orbit state
      • Identification and ranking of NEO collision risks with the Earth (e.g.
      • Tunguska (Siberia), 1908)
      • Production of warnings about potential NEO impacts
      • Provision of liaison between observers, data analyzers and politicians
      • Study of possible mitigation measures
    Near Earth Objects (1)
  • 25. Near Earth Objects population (2)
  • 26. Near Earth Objects population (3) The rate of discovery of NEOs (asteroids) in the last 10 years has been impressive These were mainly the result of the work carried out at the Minor Planet Center (USA)
  • 27. Near Earth Objects Effect of an impact with an asteroid (4)
    • The impact of an asteroid on the Earth at a speed between 15 and 30 Km/s has a devastating effect due to the release of an enormous kinetic energy:
    • blast waves, tsunamis, atmospheric and electromagnetic changes
    • The amount of energy released can be significantly higher than generated by the most powerful nuclear bombs, and will depend on the size of the asteroid colliding with the Earth.
    • * MT: Explosive power of 1 Mega Tonne of TNT
    • The Hiroshima bomb had an explosive power of 15 KT
    1,000,000 years 1,000,000 to 10,000,000 3 Km 16,000 years 1,000 to 10,000 350 m 1,000 years 10 to 100 75 m Average interval MT* NEO diameter
  • 28. Near Earth Objects Tunguska event in Siberia (5)
    • The 1908 explosion in Siberia was most likely caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 5 – 10 Km above the Earth.
    • The size of the object has been estimated at 50 – 80 m
    • Estimates of the energy of the blast are in the order of 10 – 15 MT , which is 1000 times the energy released by the Hiroshima nuclear bomb !
    • An area of ca. 2000 sq. Km has been destroyed by this explosion.
  • 29.
    • Security aspects affecting the SSA Programme
      • Some of the elements of the Programme will be subject to restrictions and security regulations due to their potential political sensitivity.
      • This concerns mainly the core element for the Space Surveillance activity, as well as the corresponding Data Centres entrusted with the tasks of collecting and distributing data and providing the related services.
      • The element related to Space Weather and NEOs activities is not so sensitive and no specific restrictions in the handling of the collected data is anticipated.
      • During the execution of the Programme, the security aspects of the Programme will be coordinated through a unit in charge of Governance and Data policy aspects, under guidance of an internal ESA Steering Board.
  • 30. Breakdown of the SSA Preparatory Programme in independent elements
    • The Delegations requested the SSA preparatory Programme to cover 3 years (2009 – 2011), and be split in four elements:
      • Core element (Governance, Data Policy, Data Security, SSA general architecture, Space Surveillance precursor services)
      • b) Space Weather element (including some NEOs activities)
      • Radar element (bread boarding of essential radar sub-systems), in close coordination with ESA’s technology Programmes such as the TRP and GSTP – Enabler of the core element
      • Pilot Data Centres element (prototyping of the required Data Centres). This is an enabler of the core and Space Weather elements.
  • 31. Financial envelopes of the four SSA elements
    • All participating States will have to subscribe to the core element to a level of at least 0.25 GNP.
    • The participation to the other elements is optional
    • The core element has a fixed envelope of 20 MEUR
    • The other elements have their envelope tentatively fixed at the following levels:
    • - Space Weather element: 11 MEUR
    • - Radar element: 11 MEUR
    • - Pilot Data Centres element: 13 MEUR
    • This brings the value of the SSA preparatory Programme to an estimated amount of 55 MEUR (Actual subscription ca. 50 MEUR)
  • 32.
    • The SSA-Period 2 Programme will continue activities related to the SSA domains, with the main focus on the consolidation of the ground-based infrastructure and deployment of a space-based infrastructure:
      • Finalisation of the development and further deployments of the ground-based Facilities deployed under SSA-Period I
      • Enhancement of precursor operational services to fully-fledged operational services
      • Development and Launch of an initial space-based infrastructure. This could include the deployment of satellites at various Earth-bound orbits with instruments dedicated to survey & tracking and space weather.
      • The definition and subsequent deployment of a satellite at Lagrange point L1 could as well be initiated during the period 2, for the fulfilment of services related to Space Weather applications currently provided by the SOHO mission.
    SSA-Period 2 activities
  • 33. Internal Project Framework (1)
    • The responsibility for the SSA preparatory Programme has been entrusted to D/OPS.
    • The mandate given to ESA by the participating States encompasses the responsibility for the development of the European SSA System, as well as for the delivery of precursor pre-operational services in all the SSA domains.
    • At the same time, contacts will be pursued during the period 1 with the EU (EC, EDA, EUSC) for the definition of a suitable governance scheme applicable to the European SSA System during its operational phase, as well as for the identification of the adequate organization that will eventually take control of the SSA system operations.
    • A Data Policy for the handling of the SSA data will be elaborated together with the participating States.
  • 34. Internal Project Framework (2)
    • During the execution of the preparatory Programme, overall responsibility will be assigned to a Core Team. Specific tasks such as governance and data policy, Ground and Space Segment Management will also be performed by staff in the core team.
    • Support tasks will be largely provided by staff from D/TEC and D/OPS, and to a smaller extent by staff from DG-P (Governance, relations with the EU), D/SRE (Space Weather and NEOs), and D/EOP (Space Weather)
    • Staff in the core team will be from D/OPS, or integrated into D/OPS for the duration of the SSA Programme.
    • Staff in the support team will provide functional support to the SSA Programme
  • 35. SSA Project organization (1)
    • Estimated manpower requirements
    • The manpower required to cover all the SSA activities during the preparatory phase (2009 – 2011) are estimated at a level of 10 my/y.
    • This includes the manpower both in the core team and in the support team
    • In the core team, the manpower has to be provided by permanent staff, with management responsibilities. The manpower level of D/OPS and staff from other directorates integrated in the Project Team can be estimated at a level of 5 my/y
    • In the support team, the manpower can be provided by both expert permanent and contract staff. The support level can be estimated at a level of 5 my/y.
  • 36. SSA Project organization (2) Core team during the preparatory phase SSA Programme Manager SSA NEO Systems Manager SSA Surveillance and Tracking Systems Manager SSA Imaging Systems Manager SSA Space Weather Systems Manager SSA Governance Data Policy Int. and EU Rel. I/F with the PB-SSA SSA Business Operations Project Control SSA Ground Segment Manager SSA Space Segment Manager D/OPS SSA Steering Group SSA User’s Group Management Services Procurement Posts planned to be opened during the SSA Preparatory Programme