Space Situational Awareness (SSA) refers to a comprehensive knowledge about the location and status of all man-made objects in space, including satellites and pieces of debris. One of the most common and important intentions in creating accurate and timely SSA is to avoid collisions between orbiting objects. Accordingly, the US Federal Government has invested millions of dollars on SSA sensors, collection, processing, and dissemination, and grew to become the principal source of SSA for the world, then and now.

Supply & Demand

Recent projections show as much as a five-fold increase in space traffic based on more space activity by traditional space faring countries and the arrival of many additional nations, businesses, and universities. Along with that projection comes more satellites and more debris. Tracking and de-conflicting all of this will stretch US Government SSA capacities to the breaking point, threatening continued safe and profitable use of space for all. Meanwhile, US Government budget pressures will likely inhibit development of an SSA architecture that can handle the demands of this emerging environment.

Reducing Risk

Reducing risk for space operations depends on more timely, technical, and releasable commercial SSA information so operators can understand what’s unfolding, predict the consequences, and make wise decisions for longer, more assured operational lifetimes for satellites. Recognizing that affordable commercial sources of SSA data and services must fill the void, we have formed and mobilized the Schafer Commercial Space Situational Awareness Team (SCSSAT). This team of mostly small businesses provides commercial SSA services that significantly reduce the pressure on US Government capacity and increases the availability of SSA data to enable safe operations for both government and commercial purposes.

Experience

In total, the SCSSAT brings decades of experience and proven methods for

  • delivering the resulting space situational awareness data to consumers for unprecedented insights throughout the lifetime of space objects
  • a worldwide collection enterprise with more than 85 sensors, combining active and passive techniques for Electro-Optical, SWIR, MWIR, LWIR, LIDAR, LADAR, laser, and radar
  • advanced capabilities for engineering, operations, and modeling, for planning, analysis, mission rehearsals, and comparing options and probable outcomes for decisions about important courses of action
  • design and review for space ready systems and manufacturing
  • end to end and component testing and integration
  • equipment preparation and packaging for launch, transportation, installation and integration into the existing space systems
  • initiating and conducting on orbit operations