NASA Robotic Conjunction Assessment Process: Overview and Operational Experiences - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


PPT – NASA Robotic Conjunction Assessment Process: Overview and Operational Experiences PowerPoint presentation | free to view - id: c6ce-ZGI1N


The Adobe Flash plugin is needed to view this content

Get the plugin now

View by Category
About This Presentation

NASA Robotic Conjunction Assessment Process: Overview and Operational Experiences


NASA/GSFC manages the CA for all unmanned NASA assets ... Trending miss distance and specific orbit determination related parameters ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:276
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 45
Provided by: lnew8


Write a Comment
User Comments (0)
Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: NASA Robotic Conjunction Assessment Process: Overview and Operational Experiences

NASA Robotic Conjunction Assessment
Process Overview and Operational Experiences
AIAA Space Operations Support Technical
Committee 14th Annual Improving Space Operations
Workshop Spacecraft Collision Avoidance
Co-location Track
Lauri Kraft Newman Conjunction Assessment
Manager NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Space
Systems Protection Mission Support Office/Code
590.1 301-286-3155 April
15, 2008 GSFC Conjunction Assessment Team D.
McKinley, R. Frigm a.i. solutions, Inc.
  • NASA Policy for Conjunction Assessment
  • NASA Robotic Conjunction Assessment Process
  • Operations Process
  • Tool Suite Description
  • Statistics
  • Terra vs. 14222 Case Study
  • Lessons Learned

NASA CA Policy
  • Policy for Limiting Orbital Debris (NPR 8715.6)
    requires routine CA for all NASA assets with
    maneuvering capability (signed 8/17/07).
  • FDAB has the capability to offer this service to
    any mission
  • 3.4 Conjunction Assessments during Mission
    Operations (for Earth-Orbiting Spacecraft)
  • 3.4.1 The NASA Program/Project Manager shall
    have conjunction assessment analyses performed
    routinely for all maneuverable Earth-orbiting
    spacecraft with a perigee height of less than
    2000 km in altitude or within 200 km of GEO
    (Requirement 56891).
  • 3.4.2 Conjunction assessment analyses shall be
    performed using the USSTRATCOM high-accuracy
    catalog as a minimum (Requirement 56892).
  • 3.4.3 The NASA Program/Project Manager shall
    have a collision risk assessment and risk
    mitigation process in place for all maneuverable
    Earth-orbiting spacecraft that are performing
    routine conjunction assessment analyses
    (Requirement 56893).

Existing NASA CA Process
  • NASA Performs CA for its Human space assets
    (Shuttle and Station) as well as for various
    unmanned assets.
  • Requirements dictated by NPR 8715.6
  • NASA/JSC performs CA for Human Space Flight
    assets 3 times a day
  • NASA/GSFC manages the CA for all unmanned NASA
  • GSFC has performed CA routinely since January
    2005 for
  • 11 Earth Science Constellation members, including
    USGS-owned Landsat missions
  • 9 TDRS satellites
  • GSFC program is expanding to encompass all NASA
    unmanned missions per the new requirement.
  • Plan to add 12 more missions over the next year.

Missions Supported 1 of 2 Earth Science
  • Combination of NASA and Foreign assets
  • Each mission makes its own risk mitigation
  • Each mission subject to own maneuverability,
    comm, and ops concept constraints

Missions Supported 2 of 2 Tracking Data Relay
Satellite System
  • Relay system composed of ground systems and nine
    spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit positioned at
    various longitudinal slots about the Earth.

TDRS-7 150 Stored
TDRS-8 174.3W Stored
TDRS-9 062W Stored
TDRS-4 046W
TDRS-5 171W
TDRS-3 275W
TDRS-6 173.7W
TDRS-1 049W
TDRS-10 041W
FY09 CA Customer Base
Current GSFC CA Effort
  • Pertinent National Space Policy excerpt
  • National Security Space Guidelines To achieve
    the goals of this policy, the Secretary of
    Defense (SECDEF) shall Have responsibility for
    space situational awareness in this capacity,
    the SECDEF shall support the space situational
    awareness requirements of the Director of
    National Intelligence and conduct space
    situational awareness for …. civil space
    capabilities and operations, particularly human
    space flight activities.
  • GSFC has an agreement with the Joint Space
    Operations Center (JSpOC)/Space Superiority Cell
    to obtain conjunction assessment screening
    predictions for NASA robotic assets

CA Functional Overview
Mission Owner/Operator
CA Screening
Risk Assessment
Risk Mitigation
Curvilinear Collision Probability
  • Generate Close Approach Predictions
  • Consists of
  • Performing Orbit Determination for catalog
  • Computing separation distance between objects in
    high accuracy space object catalog
  • Summarizing and reporting results
  • Analyze data to determine threat
  • Consists of
  • Trending miss distance and specific orbit
    determination related parameters
  • Computing collision probability
  • Performing collision probability sensitivity
  • CA analysts assist the Flight Operations Team
  • Consists of
  • Maneuver planning
  • Maneuver execution

GSFC CA Operational Summary
  • Goddard-dedicated Orbital Safety Analysts at the
    JSpOC generate CA data M-F (weekends as needed)
    using the high-accuracy (SP) catalog
  • Close approach predictions are made 7 days into
    the future for LEO missions
  • Close approach predictions are made 10 days into
    the future for GEO missions
  • Any planned maneuvers are modeled in the
    ephemerides provided by the mission.
  • The CA data is provided to Goddard via secure FTP
    and e-mail.
  • The GSFC CA team processes the data and provides
    risk assessment analysis results to the mission

LEO Safety Volumes
  • Three different mission safety volumes define
    data product delivery from JSpOC/SCC and data
    processing by GSFC CA team
  • The safety volumes are expressed in the primary
    UVW coordinate frame U (radial), V (in-track)
    and W (cross-track)
  • Monitor Volume (ellipsoid) /- 2 x 25 x 25 km
  • Largest filter used to initially identify and
    report potential close approaches
  • Tasking Volume (box) /- 0.5 x 5 x 5 km
  • Serves as a second warning and an elevated level
    of concern
  • Tasking level on the secondary object is
    increased (if necessary)
  • Watch Volume (standoff distance) 1 km

GEO Safety Volumes
  • Monitor Volume (standoff distance) 40 km
  • Largest filter used to initially identify and
    report potential close approaches
  • Alert/Tasking Volume (standoff distance) 15 km
  • Serves as a second warning and an elevated level
    of concern
  • Tasking level on the secondary object is
    increased (if necessary)
  • Watch Volume (standoff distance) 2 km
  • Risk mitigation maneuver planning options

Data Products from JSpOC
  • All Monitor Volume violations are summarized in a
    Conjunction Screening Summary and delivered to
    the CA SFTP server. The Screening Summary
  • Time of Closest Approach (TCA)
  • Total Miss Distance
  • Miss Distance Position and Velocity Components in
    RIC frame
  • An additional email is sent documenting tracking
    data and tasking level
  • An Orbital Conjunction Message (OCM) is provided
    for Tasking/Alert Volume violations. The OCM
  • TCA
  • Asset State/Covariance at TCA
  • Object State/Covariance at TCA
  • Other orbit determination information helpful in
    performing collision risk assessment.
  • Vector Covariance Messages (VCMs) for both
    objects are provided for Watch Volume violations.
  • VCMs contain epoch state and covariance
  • Used for maneuver planning

Risk Assessment Process
Risk Assessment by CA Team
  • Screening data is analyzed in two distinct ways
  • Routine Operations
  • Daily activity to assess most recent delivery of
    close approach predictions
  • Disposition conjunctions as a threat, not a
    threat, or monitor event based on analysis
  • High Interest Events
  • Events that have significant potential to be a
    threat or provide a unique analysis opportunity
  • Trending of orbit determination parameters and
    conjunction geometry
  • Probability of Collision Sensitivity analysis
  • Risk Mitigation Maneuver planning

Routine Operations
  • At the end of the day, the OSA provides data
    products to the GSFC CA team
  • JSpOC OSA posts data products to the SFTP site.
  • CAS automatically parses the data and puts it
    into the database for trending and use with other
  • The CAM Tool Suite is run each time new data is
  • Data is processed by the automated CAS utility
    and generates various reports
  • A summary report is generated containing all
    pertinent information and delivered to the
  • An OCM Analysis Report is generated for each
    event and posted to a secure website
  • The following morning the CA Analyst
  • Verifies all data delivered to CA team and
    mission stakeholders
  • Reviews Screening Summary
  • Reviews all OCM Analysis Reports
  • Creates Watch List detailing all conjunctions in
    the Screening Summary and the action to be taken
  • Performs additional analysis on conjunctions
    using the Collision Risk Assessment Tool Suite

High Interest Event Risk Assessment
  • Pc and miss distance data alone cannot be used to
    fully assess the threat
  • Additional analyses to help establish and
    quantify risk include
  • Orbit determination (OD) consistency from
    solution to solution
  • Number of tracks and observations
  • Ballistic Coefficient
  • Solar Radiation Pressure Coefficient
  • Energy Dissipation Rate
  • Radar Cross Sectional Area
  • Probabilistic Risk Assessment Analysis
  • Realistic probability calculations based on
    realistic state and covariance predictions
  • Pc evolution as the time to the close approach
    event gets shorter
  • Pc sensitivity analysis based on changes to
  • Conjunction Geometry (clock angle, approach
  • Position of hard body radius with respect to the
    3-sigma covariance ellipse

Risk Mitigation
  • If the threat evaluation indicates the need to
    plan and (possibly) execute a maneuver
  • CA Team notifies Mission Owner/Operator
  • CA Team analyzes maneuver options that will
    mitigate the threat - first guess
  • CA Team works with Mission Owner/Operator to plan
    risk mitigation options.
  • Maneuver must sufficiently increase the
    separation distance and decrease the collision
  • Maneuver must meet orbit requirements if at all
  • CA Team analyzes sensitivity of Pc to expected
    variations in burn performance

Typical LEO Risk Mitigation Maneuver Planning
  • Maneuver planning begins TCA-3 days
  • As TCA approaches, uncertainty decreases, but
    avoidance options decrease
  • Allows time to
  • Improve the OD solution on the secondary object
  • Evaluate several maneuver options
  • Have 1st SPCS screen the options for
    post-maneuver close approaches
  • plan the final maneuver
  • Upload commands to the spacecraft

The Collision Assessment System
  • Collision Assessment System (CAS) was developed
    to store and analyze the large volumes of data
  • CAS is automated and comprised of several
  • Secure File Transfer Protocol Server
  • Parser / Monitor Scripts
  • Database
  • Collision Assessment and Mitigation (CAM) Tool
  • Secure Website
  • Configuration Management System

Collision Assessment and Mitigation Tool Suite
  • The CAM Tool Suite is the part of CAS that
    provides analysis utilities
  • The CAM Tool Suite consists of 6 modules
  • Conjunction Visualization Script
  • 2-D Collision Probability Utility
  • Monte Carlo Simulation
  • 3-D / Curvilinear Collision Probability Tool
  • Time History Trending Utility
  • Collision Avoidance Planning Tool
  • The modules are built using FreeFlyerTM and
  • Output from tools is formatted into a single PDF
    report for each OCM

Screening Data Processing Conjunction Summary
  • Overlap compare computes differences between
    subsequent solutions for the same close approach
  • JSpOC and Owner/Operator solutions are compared
  • Results are posted to the Portal website

Screening Data Processing CA Calendar
  • A CA Calendar is produced and posted to the
  • Contains close approach predictions of less than
    1 km, events having Pc 1e-7, and planned
    maneuver dates/times.

Screening Data Processing Watch List
  • CA Analyst examines all data on Portal daily to
    produce a watch list of events warranting
    further analysis.

OCM Analysis Conjunction Orientation
Conjunction Orientation Shows the position and
position covariance of the Primary (blue) and
Secondary (green) Objects in Earth Centered
Inertial (ECI) coordinates.
OCM Analysis Pc Sensitivity
OCM Analysis Conjunction Plane
Earth Science Constellation Conjunction
CA Statistics - ESC
  • For the Earth Science Constellation
  • Each asset averages 15 unique conjunctions per
    week within the Monitor Volume (780/yr)
  • Each asset averages 1 unique conjunction per week
    within the Tasking Volume (52/yr)
  • Each asset averages 3 high interest events per
    year - ops team engages in maneuver planning
  • International Space Station (ISS) statistics for
    comparison (340 km altitude, 51.6 deg inc)
  • For 2005, saw 24 Monitor Volume conjunctions,
    none with Pc 1 x 10-5
  • Have seen 251 conjunctions from 7/99 12/05
  • Have executed 4 debris avoidance maneuvers
  • Average of 1.2 maneuvers per year predicted

ESC Safety Volume Violations Per Month
Average Number of Watch Volume Violations per
Asset per Month
ESC Risk Mitigation Maneuvers Performed
Chinese ASAT Event
ASAT Event - Background
  • On January 11th, 2007 China performed a
    successful test of an anti-satellite (ASAT)
  • The ASAT test consisted of a medium-range
    ballistic missile destroying a Chinese weather
  • Event occurred at an altitude of 535 miles (861
  • First close approach with an ESC mission was
    predicted weeks after the event (04 Feb)
  • Current number of cataloged objects 2000
  • The NASA Orbital Debris Program Office estimates
    35,000 pieces larger than 1 cm

Debris Environment Growth
March 2007
Tracked objects 10 cm diameter (FENGYUN 1-C
Debris in red)
Images courtesy NASA Orbital Debris Program Office
FENGYUN 1C DEB Mean Equatorial Height vs.
Inclination -
Height Statistics (Oct 2007) (Min, Max, Mean,
Std) 195.7 2577.9 872.5 174.8
ESC orbit
Inclination Statistics (Oct 2007) (Min, Max,
Mean, Std) 95.2 105.6 99.0 0.7
ASAT Safety Volume Violations
ASAT - Percent of Total
ESC Monitor Volume Violations FENGYUN 1C Debris
Case Study Terra vs. 14222 TCA October 23, 2005
Pc Trend
  • On Monday Oct 17th, 1st SPCS predicted a close
    approach between Terra and object 14222 (SCOUT
    G-1 debris)
  • TCA Oct 23rd
  • Miss distance
  • Pc 1e-2
  • 14222 characteristics at TCA
  • Period 98.66 min
  • Apogee Height 710.79 km
  • Perigee Height 679.20 km
  • Inclination 82.39

GSFC-Computed Pc Values For Each OCM Solution
Collision Probability
Days to TCA
  • Throughout the week, the Pc remained high
    primarily due to the decreasing miss distance and
    the close approach geometry.

Avoidance Maneuver Planning
  • Throughout the week, the miss distance trended
    downward from solution to solution
  • On Thursday, October 20th the miss distance had
    dropped to planning took place
  • Four different maneuver options were generated
    and sent to JSpOC-Mountain for screening
  • Performing any of these maneuver options would
    increase the miss distance to a safe level and
    decrease the Pc by several orders of magnitude

Miss Distance Trend
Day -3
Day -6
Day -5
Day 0
Day -1
Day -2
  • On Friday, October 21st the reported miss
    distance reached a local minimum and the
    collision probability reached a local maximum
  • Miss distance 50 60 m
  • Collision probability still on the order of 1e-2
  • Decision was made to perform maneuver option 2
  • Based on trends throughout the week and the
    post-maneuver close approach screening results
  • Executed at 2230 Z
  • Actual miss distance 4.6 km
  • Actual Pc 0

Lessons Learned
  • Automation is essential for managing the workload
    of routine data processing
  • Personnel experienced in orbit determination are
    required to assess the threat using multiple
  • Each event appears to be sufficiently unique such
    that a standardized mitigation approach cannot be
  • Each spacecraft sees a handful of conjunctions
    per year for which avoidance maneuver planning is