Where's Wally? The space chase
Space capabilities are vital for many aspects of modern life - communications, meteorology, navigation, the economy, and more.
However, as we continue to populate near Earth orbits with satellites, we also increase the potential for orbital collisions. This could result in millions of dollars lost, and will further increase the likelihood of additional collisions. The risk of collisions can be reduced by maintaining accurate positioning data of these satellites, which is known as space situational awareness.
The aim of this project was to develop a ground-based system to obtain this positioning data from satellites in all Earth orbits. Known as the optical fence system, this system uses panoramic views provided by DSLR cameras to identify satellites, then determine their spatial position through image processing and star-tracking algorithms. The result is a system which can provide a satellite’s position to microsecond accuracy in any given orbit.
Securing our future