About us

Center for Space Debris Data Collection, Processing and Analysis
Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics (KIAM)
Russian Academy of Sciences

4 Miusskaya Sq., Moscow, 125047 Russia

Efraim L. Akim KIAM Deputy Director
Vladimir M. Agapov, Igor Ye. Molotov

High Geocentric Orbit Space Debris Circular No.4
20070501 H.G.O.S.D.C. 00004

Coverage period ends on May 1, 2007 12:00 UTC

Editor: Vladimir Agapov
Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics


Introduction

This circular opens a new series of publications devoted to periodically summarizing the worldwide scientific activities in observations of space debris objects on high geocentric orbits (GEO, HEO and high near-circular non-GEO). Objects considered to be included into this publication are fragments (operational by nature, created in fragmentation events or as a result of larger objects surface and construction deterioration due to environment conditions) having brightness fainter than 15th visual magnitude during most part of their observation time. This limit corresponds to approximately 1 m size object on geostationary orbit. It is possible that sometimes these objects can be brighter than 15th magnitude due to combination of their specific properties (surface reflectivity and attitude) and favorable observation conditions (good phase angle, high elevation etc.).

The goal of this publication is to give the world scientific community imagination about the status of high geocentric orbit space debris researches and to provide up to date data for each discovered object including orbital parameters, estimated standard magnitude and estimated area-to-mass ratio value. Those data can be included in existing space debris models as well as can be used for study of long-term orbital evolution and possible origin of the objects. The Circular will also serve as some reference document for scientists and amateurs involved in those objects observations and data analysis. Operators of spacecraft in high geocentric orbits (mainly in GEO) can use this publication in order to obtain a more realistic description of the situation around their orbital assets.

Observation planning, ephemeris support, processing and analysis of obtained data are made by researchers from Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics (KIAM) (Vladimir Agapov, Igor Molotov, Viktor Stepanyants, Vladimir Titenko) with invaluable help of Zakhariy Khutorovskiy (Vympel Corporation) and Vasiliy Yurasov (Institute for Precision Instrument Engineering, IPIE).

The presented results include discoveries stemming from surveys of the European Space Agency (ESA) utilizing the ESA Space Debris Telescope in Tenerife. Those surveys and all follow-up observations from the ZIMLAT telescope of the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern in Switzerland (AIUB) are planned, run, processed, and analyzed by the AIUB.

All questions regarding cooperation in the joint research program for high geocentric orbit space debris studies should be sent to Prof. E. L. Akim, KIAM Deputy Director. All questions regarding observation schedule, required formats, ephemeris support, observations and orbital data processing, analysis and usage should be sent to Dr. V. M. Agapov. All questions regarding requirements for observation instruments, CCD frame processing software, possible help in the instrumentation upgrade in order to make possible participation in the research program should be sent to Dr. I. Ye. Molotov.

List of sensors

This list includes all sensors participating today in a joint program of observation and analysis of space debris objects on high geocentric orbits. Each sensor has its own identification number assigned in the KIAM space objects database. Most of the sensors are involved in minor planet observations as well, thus having the MPC-assigned identification code. But for the purpose of this research program it was decided to maintain a separate ID system permitting to describe all participating sensors regardless of their involvement in other research programs. Coordinates of sensors are given for reference purposes only and should not be used in real observation processing. In the column Instrument, the common name, aperture (d, mm) and focal length (f, mm) of each instrument are given.

The list will be updated each time a new sensor will send observations for objects studied.

Table 1. List of participating sensors

Ref. ID Longitude, Latitude, Height, km Observatory/Facility Instrument
10003 100.919 E 51.622 N 1.998 Mondy AZT-14 d480
10009 66.883 E 39.133 N 0.662 Kitab DAZ-40 d400
10010 41.432 E 43.657 N 2.070 Arhyz Zeiss-600 d600/f7500
10012 42.499 E 43.276 N 3.127 Terskol Zeiss-2000 d2000/f16000
10016 30.273 E 46.397 N 0.010 Mayaki RC-600 d600/f4800
10018 33.163 E 45.219 N 0.010 Yevpatoriya AZT-8 d700/f2800
10019 33.997 E 44.403 N 0.340 CrAO/Simeiz Zeiss-1000 d1000
10024 30.327 E 59.772 N 0.100 Pulkovo RS-220 d220/f507
10031 34.016 E 44.726 N 0.585 CrAO/Nauchnyi AT-64 d640/f900
10041 66.896 E 38.673 N 2.593 Maidanak Zeiss-600 d600/f7500
10042 41.443 E 43.649 N 2.059 SAO/Arhyz Zeiss-1000 d1000
10065 132.166 E 43.699 N 0.200 Ussuriysk DA-40 d400/f1600
10071 64.624 W 21.596 S 1.865 Tarija Zeiss-600 d600/f7500
10102 100.920 E 51.622 N 2.000 Mondy Zeiss-600 d600/f7500
10103 100.919 E 51.617 N 2.025 Mondy AZT-33IK d1500/f30000
10191 7.465 E 46.877 N 0.951 Zimmerwald ZIMLAT-1000 d1000/f4000
10198 16.512 W 28.301 N 2.445 Teide/OGS Zeiss-1000 d1000/f4470
10531 34.016 E 44.728 N 0.595 CrAO/Nauchnyi ZTSh d2600/f10000
10532 34.017 E 44.730 N 0.595 GAISh/Nauchnyi Zeiss-600 d600/f4680
10533 34.016 E 44.726 N 0.585 CrAO/Nauchnyi PH-1 d220/f507

New objects

This section contains information on the objects newly discovered during the period Apr 1-Apr 30, 2007.

There are two lists. The first one contains information on objects which have been successfully recovered in follow-up observations after initial detection and one-night tracking and for which orbital data and area-to-mass ratio (AMR) value have been determined with high level of confidence. The second one contains information on objects having only one-night track of observations. A complete set of orbital data cannot be determined for these objects. Only some orbital parameters (mainly inclination and RAAN) are determined relatively accurately. The AMR values cannot be determined for these objects at all.

It should be noted that all one-night tracks have been tested to identify them with all other one-night tracks and with all known objects in the KIAM database having well determined orbits (both bright and faint). It is possible that the identification failed not only due to the absence of other tracks of the same object, but also due to uncertainty caused by an unknown AMR value which can result in very significant orbital evolution that prevents proper correlation of one-night tracks.

Each object listed in this section has two identifiers. The first one (column ID2 in the table below) is assigned by the observer who discovered the object and the second one (ID1) is assigned in the KIAM space objects database. Since no commonly agreed space debris identification system exists yet all identifiers provided can be regarded as temporary ones. As soon as such a system will be agreed upon, all objects will be assigned with the new identifiers.

Orbital elements are referring to True Equator Mean Equinox (TEME) coordinate system. Area-to-mass ratios are calculated assuming reflectivity coefficient equal to 1.3. Orbital elements for short tracks (Table 3) are obtained in two steps. In the first step an attempt is made to determine an orbit with zero eccentricity. In case of large residuals (more than the expected 3- sigma) the second step is applied. At this step the eccentricity is also estimated.

There are 9 new objects discovered and subsequently confirmed in April. Also 9 more new objects are discovered but observed only on short tracks on one night only.

Table 2. List of newly discovered and confirmed objects

ID1 ID2 Date/time, UTC a, km e i, Ω, ω, u, AMR, m2/kg
43129 E07103A 15.04.2007
02:38:54.36
40502.99 0.6690757 5.951 259.103 120.228 287.753 -
43130 E07104A 27.04.2007
20:38:13.74
36455.94 0.5690347 21.185 030.745 041.934 185.947 29.2
43131 E07105A 29.04.2007
01:49:53.58
32824.04 0.3131211 7.897 071.308 286.507 185.399 0.42
90054 90054 26.04.2007
21:29:43.36
42578.93 0.0438312 6.131 074.010 086.164 066.057 3.07
90055 90055 27.04.2007
20:27:19.66
42097.74 0.0264668 14.921 356.679 283.062 196.459 0.93
90056 90056 27.04.2007
20:30:18.92
42069.95 0.0068728 14.447 357.784 127.046 199.789 0.086
90057 90057 27.04.2007
20:06:27.78
41981.09 0.0042680 14.192 351.048 269.524 201.741 0.02
90058 90058 27.04.2007
19:45:56.37
24598.31 0.7108708 4.325 022.776 013.607 187.257 0.73
90059 90059 26.04.2007
19:17:20.43
18345.28 0.6219753 13.033 353.944 006.773 194.849 -

Of the nine objects discovered in April two are the very interesting ones namely 43130 and 90054.

The first one have very large AMR value - of order of 30 sq.m/kg, but relatively good predictable motion indicating very small variations of the AMR value. At the moment of this issue compilation the object was still tracking without problems and without involving special search strategies. It's eccentricity is increasing at present and if it will not be lost during the next two months then we will have continuous real orbital data for such kind of objects precise enough to involve radars for studying of it's properties.

The second object, 90054, is the unique one due to combination of the high AMR value (near 3.2-3.3 sq.m/kg in average) and the enormous (for objects of this class) brightness observed during routine tracking of it. On some intervals up to 20 minutes long the brightness was increasing up to magnitude in 9m-10m range making it comparable to the one associated with the largest satellites orbiting GEO. It was continuous brightness increasing not short time flashing of flaring which is common for many GEO objects especially during the eclipses season. One can assume that the object is some kind of a 'prefect' mirror-reflector having slow attitude motion and producing 'continuous flares' from time to time. Thanks to such strange the brightness pattern it was possible to observe the object even with small instruments having aperture 22 cm or even less. It is interesting also that at the time of the discovery the orbital plane of the 90054 perfectly matches the orbital plane of the retired GEO satellite 20570/1990-034A PALAPA B2R (within 0.01 deg both in inclination and RAAN) though analysis doesn't reveals any close encounters between these two objects at least in 2007.

Table 3. List of newly discovered objects having only single one-night track of observations

ID1 ID2 Date/time, UTC Track
duration,
hh:mm
T, min a, km e i, Ω, ω,
46167 g070410 10.04.2007 00:17 1432.49 42094.0 0.1700 9.018 297.97 037.48
46168 g070411a 11.04.2007 00:11 1508.32 43566.9 0.0287 10.253 049.32 058.32
46169 g070417 17.04.2007 00:58 1436.06 42164.0 0.0012 14.068 007.23 319.31
46170 g070420 20.04.2007 00:10 344.41 16278.6 0.5934 26.714 015.61 005.97
46171 G070423b 23.04.2007 00:29 1350.75 40477.1 0.0515 15.021 357.99 016.24
46172 g070423e 23.04.2007 00:22 1385.21 41162.6 0.0125 13.954 349.94 040.32
46405 m070417 17.04.2007 00:11 1436.05 42163.8 0.0531 8.294 316.23 317.31
46406 m070424 24.04.2004 00:04 1107.90 35467.3 0 14.521 342.18 103.76
46407 m070425 25.04.2007 00:09 645.53 24742.2 0.4709 13.784 002.32 047.27

New identifications

This section contains information on successful identification of newly and previously obtained single one-night tracks with each other as well as with objects having well determined orbits.

Table 4. New identifications

ID_new ID_old Observation date Observer
No new identifications in Mar 2007

Updated orbits

This section contains information on the latest orbital updates for objects discovered prior to Apr 1, 2007 and observed at least once in Apr 2007 or for which the latest orbital update was not published in the previous issues. 42 of previously discovered objects in total are observed in Apr 2007.

Table 5. Updated orbital parameters for objects observed in Apr 2007.

ID1 ID2 Date/time, UTC a, km e i, Ω, ω, u, AMR, m2/kg
43019EGEO1922.04.2007 02:36:38.1642399.000.002126510.812 338.042 150.152 213.320 1.38
43031EGEO3128.04.2007 02:49:23.2740192.070.104784411.954 336.686 332.896 275.591 1.15
43032EGEO3221.04.2007 01:27:59.1539460.940.084279310.729 338.645 330.079 207.042 1.04
43033EGEO3321.04.2007 20:24:24.6333194.900.31990648.270 068.420 262.498 135.386 3.24
43045EGEO4528.04.2007 01:36:19.8742147.330.13470139.522 330.054 071.207 280.592 1.15
43046EGEO4626.04.2007 19:57:44.5042328.960.03348529.830 331.123 238.763 263.332 0.82
43081E06204D23.04.2007 20:26:11.8146764.250.448685410.031 125.608 317.540 129.540 8.32
43082E06205C14.04.2007 18:45:00.6841420.400.012854713.805 344.440 182.321 174.898 2.18
43091E06293A22.04.2007 23:48:48.6740273.870.23866595.165 121.766 242.524 131.984 10.9
43093E06326A17.04.2007 21:45:12.2543590.000.04183479.099 333.041 358.580 186.143 2.93
43096E06321D25.04.2007 18:19:08.5041425.100.01457648.770 320.847 251.372 237.359 1.72
43100E06327E17.04.2007 21:47:08.4639992.830.058020012.478 344.071 253.286 209.768 0.37
43103E06349B26.04.2007 17:48:11.5041889.720.006093813.925 005.737 094.840 202.694 0.071
43107E07015D11.04.2007 00:08:49.9541434.050.069019910.242 337.145 358.780 266.115 3.66
43112E07021A12.04.2007 20:32:56.9642229.470.042455510.700 337.211 288.099 96.913 1.50
43118E07043C24.04.2007 20:50:58.9439193.580.18517758.528 306.740 065.438 254.002 2.05
43119E07045A22.04.2007 05:06:53.5721209.550.66227264.031 057.063 316.299 162.191 0.99
43121E07045D26.04.2007 18:32:15.5042037.130.014283913.224 005.635 000.151 223.035 1.29
43124E07047A19.04.2007 21:02:07.1239993.610.161529612.851 340.776 348.993 218.218 3.38
43125E07048A24.04.2007 02:44:42.4044505.300.071916718.706 031.172 337.378 182.234 0.087
43128E07074D21.04.2007 21:44:03.2125998.970.61615847.286 342.311 028.327 220.822 0.64
900059000526.04.2007 22:43:20.5642012.010.061763514.466 356.606 098.743 232.616 1.46
900069000625.04.2007 17:58:10.5542197.440.001237614.429 351.826 022.290 207.481 0.011
900089000823.04.2007 18:54:11.3442151.930.004163814.349 357.670 103.711 227.289 0.0062
900099000929.04.2007 01:25:15.3342275.360.002917814.680 358.703 357.710 250.284 0.014
900149001413.04.2007 22:05:32.8842615.920.010160614.960 353.417 107.990 135.363 0.15
900199001923.04.2007 23:56:11.6342221.060.007432714.819 359.151 041.113 199.565 0.15
900229002225.04.2007 16:40:15.5042165.780.003180314.557 358.319 189.701 204.738 0.23
900239002329.04.2007 02:19:05.0140109.430.052421412.352 354.815 064.667 258.023 1.79
900309003010.04.2007 18:53:25.2442258.300.00473095.836 073.289 036.563 147.125 0.11
900319003126.04.2007 20:58:11.6542148.890.002066513.843 007.139 209.069 225.061 0.0021
900329003228.04.2007 21:45:05.3642148.920.018958814.283 358.508 237.652 249.054 0.0011
900359003524.04.2007 18:28:39.1141840.790.07943929.152 329.057 042.684 284.453 2.87
900429004228.04.2007 01:13:02.9538707.720.016617711.350 335.042 138.846 264.585 3.05
900439004327.04.2007 23:41:25.8241680.590.004675810.345 333.073 325.223 233.663 0.12
900479004716.04.2007 22:57:56.6343043.730.094862013.818 009.100 349.662 132.169 0.90
900489004822.04.2007 14:27:48.7241589.930.042870013.880 346.259 289.979 172.642 1.21
900499004918.04.2007 21:12:40.7338796.880.043885617.699 348.281 192.018 204.415 1.51
900509005006.04.2007 20:19:50.9742229.630.058764711.172 343.434 026.198 104.904 4.32
900519005126.04.2007 21:18:32.4942721.940.022089614.726 009.600 275.463 231.538 0.15
900529005226.04.2007 00:36:23.6841052.500.00813339.405 324.248 181.178 272.562 0.046
900539005309.04.2007 23:03:25.7041158.700.20700797.556 317.154 134.888 283.425 1.48

Master list of objects

The master list of objects includes all high altitude orbit faint objects discovered up today, with a description of the circumstances of the discovery and the last update of orbital information. Due to the large volume of the master list it will be distributed separately in electronic form only.

Observation statistics

This section contains general statistics on obtained measurements.

9 facilities have observed high altitude space debris objects in Apr 2007. The weather in April was slightly better than in March in all facilities though very unstable. Overall number of observation nights increased. Number of the observation facilities worked during the same calendar night was following:
  • 6 facilities - 1 night
  • 5 facilities - 3 nights
  • 4 facilities - 3 nights
  • 3 facilities - 8 nights
  • 2 facilities - 7 nights
  • 1 facility - 3 nights

Table 6. Distribution of measurements obtained by each facility by year of observation (as of May 1, 2007 12:00 UTC)

2004 2005 2006 2007 TOTAL
Abastumani0 0 0 130 130
Arhyz0 0 115 11 126
Ketab 0 0 0 104 104
Maidanak 0 150 2166 1239 3555
Mayaki 0 0 981 1088 2069
Mondy 0 229 65 1008 1302
Nauchny 1240 6478 12925 6242 26885
Pulkovo 0 0 0 137137
SAO 0 258 524 307 1089
Simeiz 0 0 213 0 213
Tarija 0 0 210 21
Teide 0 624 2284 1885 4793
Terskol 0 0 475 0475
Yevpatoriya 0 0 2720 272
Zimmerwald 0 597 3389 2754 6740
TOTAL 1240 8336 234301490547911

Table 7. Observation statistics for Apr 2007

Facility Number of nights Number of observed earlier discovered objects Number of discovered objects including later confirmed) Number of obtained single measurements Number of tracks
Abastumani 4 2 - 130 5
Arhyz - - - - -
Ketab 3 2 - 1044
Maidanak 6 12 3(0) 251 20
Mayaki 6 9 - 73612
Mondy 8 12 - 38125
Nauchny 16 4112(6) 1889108
Pulkovo 2 1 - 1372
SAO - - - - -
Simeiz - - - - -
Tarija - - - - -
Teide 9 20 3(3) 332 33
Terskol - - -- -
Ussuriysk - - - - -
Yevpatoriya - - - - -
Zimmerwald 22 29 -1190191
TOTAL 25 6018(9) 5150 400
Errata

In the previous issue the second column of the table was named 'Number of observed earlier discovered objects' but the figures showed for the different facilities were different in meaning due to different counting approaches that resulted in some misunderstanding in the overall number of the observed objects. Number of the new discovered objects was excluded from the count showed in the 'Number of observed earlier discovered objects' column for those facilities which discovered the objects though these the new discovered objects were in fact counted for the facilities observed them in the follow-up sessions. Thus the real total number of objects observed by the each facility was not clear.

To avoid the problem of the observation statistics interpretation the column is renamed to 'Total number of observed objects' and all counts are appropriately corrected by means of counting of all observed objects. So, the column 'Number of new discovered objects (including later confirmed)' now reflects only discovery statistics and should not be used for obtaining of the total count of observed objects.

Acknowledgements

We would like to express our appreciation to Rudiger Jehn (European Space Operations Center), Vladimir Kouprianov (Pulkovo Observatory), Vasiliy Rumyantsev (Crimean Astrophysical Observatory), Thomas Schildkneht (Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern) and Vasiliy Yurasov (Institute for Precision Instrument Engineering, IPIE) for their comments and suggestions aimed to the Circular improvement.

4 2007.


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