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Collaborative Space Domain Awareness Data Collection and Fusion Experiment

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Systems Concepts and Integration

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CA, Conjunction Assessment, Observations, OD, Orbit Determination, Radio Frequency Interference, RFI, SATCOM, Satellite Communications, SDA, Space, Space Domain Awareness, Space Environment, Space Situational Awareness, Space Surveillance, Space Weather, SpWx, SSA, Tracking


As NATO and national-level defense systems and military operations become more dependent upon comprehensive awareness of all relevant facets of the mission and battle space, the concept of common operating pictures has evolved to encompass not only tactically-relevant awareness, but also the larger prevailing strategic-level context as well. Thus, the traditional narrowly-defined tactical concept of Space Situational Awareness is evolving to become more inclusive of all facets of the space domain relevant to military and security missions. The term space domain awareness (SDA), (analogous to maritime domain awareness, cyber domain awareness, and air domain awareness, etc.) captures the required broader operational context relevant to conducting effective space operations and preserving space capabilities from loss or degradation. Comprehensive operational awareness of the space domain is essential to the achievement of the NATO Long Term Aspect requirement for NATO Space Capability Preservation (as identified by the SCI-238 Specialists Meeting, March 2013). To ensure that NATO forces, space planners and operators can maximize their deployment and protection of the space capabilities brought to the Alliance through its member nations, it can be envisioned that a shared, common operating picture of the space domain will be essential (within the limits of those members to share and contribute SDA data and products). Due to the multi-dimensional technical scope of the involved data and product streams, along with associated variations in data protocols, sensor attributes and other technical variables, it will be necessary to evolve a common integrated environment within the NATO space planning and operations domains to ensure the timely exploitation of those data and products. Although there are no limits on what constitutes SDA data, it is commonly understood to address, at a minimum, space weather and environmental reporting, space object tracking and orbit characterization, space object collision and avoidance warning, and radio frequency interference characterizations and attribution against satellite control links and communication services. The SCI-279 Task Group on the “Requirements for a NATO Common Space Domain Awareness Operating Picture” has completed their report on the essential considerations within the Alliance that will be necessary to achieve that vision. One recommendation resulting from that Task Group was to begin the process of experimenting with the fusion and data analytic tools using real world SDA data on the space environment, space object orbital parameters and radio frequency interference of satellite communications. It is necessary that real world data is shared for the purpose of developing collaborative, joint, and common SDA picture capabilities, using the applicable Alliance standards, such as NATO Standardization Agreements (STANAGs). In March 2016, an Exploratory Team (ET-036) was formed to assess: (1) the realistic opportunities for national- level space domain data to be shared within the NATO community, (2) the specific areas and nature of space domain awareness data for which realistic field trials or experimentation could usefully be conducted and at minimum “costs” for the participants involved, and (3) the specific technical objectives and anticipated value-added contributions to the Alliance that could potentially result. Deliverables of the ET-036 study effort include this TAP and associated TOR for the planning and execution of collaborative SDA data collection and fusion experimentation.


The objective of this RTG is to conduct a mutually agreed-upon collaborative activity that involves the collaborative collection and exchange of space domain awareness data and information. The RTG will manage and direct the collection and exchange of SDA data within the participating member nations (e.g., space environment, space object flight metric information and radio frequency interference of space services and space system command and control). This initial experiment will address elementary capabilities, as a precursor to potential larger-scale demos in the future. Demonstrate initial collaboration capability across tracking, space weather environment, and RFI areas: • Sensor data (RADAR, EO, Passive RF) will be sourced via new tasking or existing archives by the participants and posted into a common repository and in a common format. • Payload RF data and telemetry data will be used to evaluate and analyze RFI events. • Satellite ephemeris data will be used as truth data for targets. • Sensor calibration data will be gathered by participants and posted in a shared repository, in a common format, for processing/analysis by participants. • Scenarios will include one or more single target(s) with available, accurate truth data (ephemerides). • Participants will search and draw from a common sensor data repository, compute independent solutions (orbit determination, photometric extraction, data formatting, visualization), and post results to a common repository. • Participants will collect and post/store space weather data, which may be used to support analyses. • Participants will gather and post/store potential RFI reports, which may be used to support analyses. • Participants will use archived data to evaluate proposed interchange formats, and exercise processes and resources for storage, search and retrieval. Deliverables include test plans, test reports, raw and processed data, and a final RTG report that summarizes achievements and recommendations going forward.


The following topics will be addressed by the RTG: • Primary: Space object tracking (including satellites, debris, rocket bodies, etc.). Includes: common information exchange/storage formats, sensor models, collection strategies, etc. • Secondary (to support primary topic): o Satellite radio frequency interference (to space communication services and satellite command and control) o Space environment (weather) conditions affecting spacecraft and space operations and services. o Other concepts relevant to space domain awareness data and information

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