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Project Title:

Assessment of the U.S. Air Force's Astrodynamic Standards
PIN: DEPS-ASEB-10-05        

Major Unit:

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Sub Unit: Air Force Studies Board DEPS
Board on Mathematical Sciences & Their Applications DEPS
Aeronautics & Space Engineering Board DEPS

RSO: Day, Dwayne

Subject/Focus Area: Math, Chemistry and Physics; National Security and Defense; Policy for Science and Technology; Space and Aeronautics

Project Scope
An ad hoc committee will assess the astrodynamic standards established by Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) and their effectiveness in meeting mission performance needs, as well as possible alternatives.

The Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) uses astrodynamic algorithms to perform satellite orbit determination and prediction in order to maintain a catalog of over 20,000 objects, ranging from active satellites to tiny pieces of orbital debris. AFSPC established this set of astrodynamic algorithms as standards to be used in operational space surveillance mission systems. These standards were implemented to achieve interoperability between the JSpOC and the mission systems and to ensure mission performance.

Specifically, as part of the assessment, the committee will:

1. Assess the current AFSPC astrodynamic standard orbit determination and prediction models for accuracy, interoperability, and ability to meet JSpOC and user mission requirements. The assessment should include an examination of any unique or undocumented needs (such as sharing the standards with industry, mission partners, allies, etc.).

2. Compare and contrast leading industry, academic, and government alternatives, including benefits and drawbacks, to the current AFSPC astrodynamic standard, as well as assess the potential impacts of employing such an alternative on existing data acquisition programs (e.g., Joint Mission System, Space Surveillance Network (SSN) sensors, other users, etc.).

3. Outline options for a strategy of how AFSPC should proceed with using these alternate standards to meet JSpOC and user requirements. The committee’s examination and description of the options should include the following:

a. Near and far term options,
b. A description of each option’s pros and cons,
c. Avenues towards meeting the unique needs identified
d. If warranted, transition approaches or potential difficulties with transitioning should also be described.

4. Examine broader issues concerning overall cost and risk of the options. In its report, the committee should consider detailing these issues for several of the larger users of the standards (such as SSN sensors)

5. Prepare a report with recommendations regarding the optimal strategy to utilize the assessed options.

This project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense

The approximate start date for this project is January 1, 2011.

A Final Report will be delivered in approximately 18 months.

Project Duration: 18 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 10/11/2011
 Meeting 2 - 12/12/2011
 Meeting 3 - 02/07/2012
 Meeting 4 - 03/26/2012


Reports having no URL can be seen
at the Public Access Records Office
Continuing Kepler's Quest: Assessing Air Force Space Command's Astrodynamics Standards