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Ground Components

Ground Components

The United States currently operates the most capable SSA system, the Space Surveillance Network (SSN). The SSN is composed of stations based around the globe that use a combination of radar and optical information to track objects in orbit. The system has impressive abilities; it is able to detect objects the size of a basketball at an altitude of ## kilometers (## miles), and smaller objects closer to Earth.


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Stats for this resource: word count: 67, number of exhibits: 0


Year: 2015
The European Space Agency is funding its own SSA program, mandated in 2008, launched in 2009, and funded through 2016. Europe’s increasing dependence on space-based services and infrastructure was a key factor in developing alternatives to non-European SSA sources. ESA’s SSA activities involve...
Year: 2015
Country: France
SSA operations in France are shared by the French Air Force and the Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES). The missions for French SSA activities are similar to U.S. military efforts, attempting to catalog all low Earth orbiting objects for collision and launch avoidance. The French do use...
Year: 2015
Collision avoidance is gaining the attention of commercial satellite operators as the Earth’s orbits continue to become more congested. A non-profit association of satellite operators from the Isle of Man, the Space Data Association, offers conjunction assessment services to its members. The...
Year: 2015
Country: United States
Since July 2010, the United States Strategic Command’s Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) has collected satellite orbit data and provided SSA to military, government, and commercial satellite operators through sending out predictions of close approaches for operational satellites. In October...
Year: 2015
Country: United States
U.S.-based companies like Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) are developing their own SSA initiatives. Supplying services based more on the USSTRATCOM vision of SSA to space operators, commercial SSA services, processes and teams offer an alternative to JSpOC. Although the notifications from the JSpOC...
Year: 2015
Country: Russia
Russian SSA efforts are operated by the military, as is the case in the United States. Russia’s Space Control Center (TSKKP) falls within the Defense Ministry’s Main Space Intelligence Center. The focus of the TSKKP is to find, track, and identify objects orbiting the Earth. This allows the...
Year: 2013
Country: United States
Space situational awareness (SSA) is an important national security mission with strong dual-use applications. SSA systems are dedicated to tracking and characterizing every object in Earth’s orbit, making sure objects do not come close enough to each other to pose a risk of collision. They do...
Year: 2012
Europe is investing in a pan-European SSA capability through an ESA program that was initiated in 2009. Investment of €## million (US$## million) was initially requested for full-scale development, but ESA governments decided to spend only €## million (US$## million) over three years. So far,...
Year: 2012
Country: United States
Space situational awareness (SSA) is the detection and tracking of objects in space to ensure they do not pose a collision threat to other objects, such as operational spacecraft. Objects are detected using a combination of ground-based optical telescopes and radar. The optical telescopes have...
Year: 2011
A series of SSN upgrades are underway. In 2011, a DARPA-funded space surveillance telescope underwent testing. After nine years of development, the new telescope, located at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, is capable of capturing wide-field views of objects in GEO orbit. While the SSN uses...

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