Fujitsu Provides New Technology to JAXA for Space Debris Mapping and Analysis – Parabolic Arc
New Analysis System Will Play Key Role in JAXA’s Space Situational Awareness System
TOKYO, Apr 05, 2022 (PR Fujitsu) — Fujitsu today announced the development and deployment of a new analysis system to calculate the orbital trajectories of space debris for use with the Space Situational Awareness System (“SSA System”) of the Japanese Space Agency. Aerospace Exploration (JAXA) for monitoring space debris. JAXA began operations of the new system at Tsukuba Space Center on April 1, 2022. JAXA will use the new technology to create effective space debris observation plans, drawing on radar observation data and of the optical telescope to calculate the trajectory of space debris and perform a comparative analysis with the trajectory of JAXA satellites. If the system detects space debris approaching satellites, it will help JAXA operators quickly respond to risks and avoid possible collisions with space debris by automatically calculating the possibility of an expected collision and course changes. required.
In the future, Fujitsu aims to further improve the accuracy of its analysis system and develop new technologies for application in space to contribute to the safe and sustainable development of space.
An urgent challenge for the future of sustainable development beyond Earth
Space debris such as detritus from rocket launches, decommissioned satellites and fragments of other man-made objects orbiting the planet as a result of explosions or collisions pose an increasingly serious problem for the future of sustainable development beyond our world. Experts estimate that the number of debris currently floating in space is over 100 million, and that number continues to rise. Space debris can travel at speeds of over 7 km/s around the Earth and is therefore powerful enough to cause severe damage to the approximately 12,000 man-made satellites in space. This poses a serious risk to critical infrastructure, with satellites playing an indispensable role in weather forecasting, disaster monitoring and mapping applications.
Fujitsu has supported JAXA in its efforts to solve this problem since the early 1990s by creating space debris observation technology that uses orbit determination technology (the predecessor of the current SSA system) that has also been used with the Hayabusa2 asteroid probe and other projects.
In the latest important step in this effort, Fujitsu has developed a practical analysis system for high-precision orbit calculations to accurately track debris in orbit and predict its movements to avoid collisions with artificial satellites.
About the new system
JAXA’s SSA system consists of a radar, an optical telescope and an analysis system developed by Fujitsu. The analysis system serves as the heart of the SSA system and allows JAXA’s system operators to create plans on the effective observation of space debris, management of acquired observation data, and analysis of tracking calculations. orbit to support the detection of space debris approaching satellites and avoiding collisions. The characteristics of the analysis technology are as follows.
1. Timely identification of collision risks through optimal observation plans and improved observation data processing capability
To further improve the SSA system, the new JAXA radar has been designed to also capture smaller objects and to observe approximately 10,000 objects per day (more than 10 times the number of conventional radars)(2).
In addition, the processing capacity of the analysis system has been increased by more than 50 times to enable rapid processing of large amounts of observational data and support rapid risk assessment by immediately providing JAXA satellite operators with the necessary information about the possibility of a planned collision and course changes to avoid any possible collision with space debris.
2. Automate routine tasks and reduce operational burden on system operators
In order to reduce the operational burden on system operators caused by the increase in the number of observation objects and processes, Fujitsu has developed a new function to automate routine work such as the creation of observation plans and the processing observational data, which was mainly done manually by the analysis operators.
By reducing the operational load and improving the efficiency of the analysis system, operators can focus on confirming treatment results and responding to emergencies.
3. Interconnection with the Japanese government’s SSA system
The new analysis system can be connected to JAXA’s SSA system as well as the SSA system operated and managed by the Japanese government to share sighting data. Thus, the new tool enables operators to respond to observation requests from the Japanese government and conduct effective observations.
In the future, Fujitsu will continue to improve the accuracy of its analysis system and contribute to JAXA’s efforts to “make space visible”.
Fujitsu further aims to develop new technologies for aerospace agencies, including JAXA, to support various satellite data applications as well as future space exploration and travel projects, and ultimately contribute to the safe and sustainable development of space.
(1) Trend diagram for the increase in the number of objects in Earth orbit: Orbital Debris Quarterly News (March 2022). Source: NASA.
(2) Fujitsu has developed a new algorithm to create optimal observation plans at any time, taking into account the observation results of each object and the observation data processing results, to maximize the number of objects that can be observed.
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