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SDA Extended Conjunction Assessment Service for 60 Percent of Operational Satellites

Satellite Technology

Satellite Technology Feature Article

January 24, 2011

SDA Extended Conjunction Assessment Service for 60 Percent of Operational Satellites

By Madhubanti Rudra, TMCnet Contributor


The Space Data Association (SDA), a non-profit international association of satellite operators recently announced the offering of conjunction assessment (CA (News - Alert)) processing (assessing the physical proximity of objects in space) to a majority of all operational satellites in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO).


The Space Data Association (SDA) was established in the Isle of Man by Inmarsat, Intelsat (News - Alert) and SES to support the controlled, reliable and efficient sharing of data critical to the safety and integrity of the space environment and the RF spectrum. The association is open to all satellite operators and other participants. SDA maintains the Space Data Center, a database of high-accuracy orbital information, which is operated by Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) of Exton, PA. Established in the Isle of Man by Inmarsat (News - Alert), Intelsat and SES, the SDA is open to all satellite operators and other participants. Membership information can be found at.

Late last year, the SDA's chief technology adviser, Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI), transferred users of the SOCRATES GEO and LEO programs from the heritage CelesTrak platform to the SDA's Space Data Center. According to SDA, The Space Data Center currently provides CA services for 197 satellites from 13 geosynchronous satellite operators and 114 operational satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) from seven LEO operators.

In a release, SDA said that compared to the CelesTrak platform, the Space Data Center provides a more robust and secure bespoke platform for operational data exchange, thereby ensuring enhanced safety of operations. The SDC ensures satellite operators' data is compared in a common format and takes into account planned maneuvers. It also provides legal framework to protect and control the use of shared data.

The Space Data Center began initial operations in July 2010 for SDA founding members Inmarsat, Intelsat and SES (News - Alert). The capability of the Space Data Center will be expanded in the near future to include data sharing in support of RF interference mitigation.

Through a statement, SDA informed that Space Data Center's initial operating capabilities (IOC) included conjunction assessment for 126 satellites in geostationary orbit owned by Inmarsat, Intelsat and SES, the founding members of the SDA. When fully operational early next year, the service will also support radio frequency interference (RFI (News - Alert)) mitigation, and membership is expected to include commercial and government operators with satellites in all Earth orbits.


Madhubanti Rudra is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Charles West

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