EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY
EUROPEAN SPACE OPERATIONS CENTRE
GROUND SYSTEMS ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT
Space Debris Office
CLASSIFICATION OF GEOSYNCHRONOUS OBJECTS
This is a status report on geosynchronous objects as of the end of 2008. Based on orbital data in ESA’s DISCOS database the situation near the geostationary ring (here defined as orbits with mean motion between 0.9 and 1.1 revolutions per day, eccentricity smaller than 0.1 and inclination below 30 deg) is analysed. From 970 objects for which Two-Line-Elements (TLE) are available, 335 are controlled inside their longitude slots, 476 are drifting above, below or through GEO, 154 are in a libration orbit and 5 whose status could not be determined (status of Dec. 2008). Furthermore, there are 46 controlled satellites and 170 uncontrolled objects without TLEs (of which 67 have not been catalogued). Thus the total number of known objects in the geostationary region is 1186, out of which 381 are controlled, 800 are uncontrolled and 5 could not be classified. Additionally there are 152 orbits listed in this report for unidentified objects. Some of those belong to objects where no recent TLEs are available but which are already included in the total number of 1186.
During 2008 twelve spacecraft reached end-of-life. Seven of them were reorbited following the IADC recommendations, one spacecraft was reorbited too low and four spacecraft did not or could not make any reorbiting manouevre at all and are now librating inside the geostationary ring.
Ten years after the IADC GEO reorbiting guidelines were established, it seems that they are now commonly applied with few exceptions.
If you detect any error or if you have any comment or question please contact
Dr R. Jehn
European Space Operations Center
64293 Darmstadt, Germany