Satellite Anomalies

Satellite Anomalies: Benefits of a Centralized Anomaly Database and Methods for Securely Sharing Information Among Satellite Operators

David A. Galvan
Brett Hemenway
William Welser
Dave Baiocchi
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 78
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  • Book Info
    Satellite Anomalies
    Book Description:

    Satellite anomalies are mission-degrading events that negatively affect on-orbit operational spacecraft. Maintaining a widely accessible and comprehensive database is one way to build an understanding of what situations are likely to result in satellite anomalies, but no such database exists. This report describes the nature and causes of satellite anomalies, and the potential benefits of a shared and centralized satellite anomaly database.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8988-5
    Subjects: Technology, Business, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures and Table
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Satellite systems have become critical components of infrastructure in the civil, defense, and commercial sectors. In the civil sector, government agencies and research scientists use satellite observations to improve our understanding of the space and terrestrial environments on a grand scale, with scientific targets ranging from the Earth’s surface and atmosphere to the space environment of the solar system and the most distant objects in the universe. They also use satellites to inform practical policy decisions in efforts to improve the human condition, with programs to monitor weather, natural and man-made hazards, agricultural development, and the global impact of human...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Satellite Anomalies
    (pp. 7-28)

    A brief overview of the near-Earth space environment is useful to provide context for the regime in which anomalies occur. The most important player in our space environment is the sun. The sun is a G-type main sequence star with a temperature of nearly 15.7 million degrees Kelvin (K) at its core, ~6,000 K at the photosphere (the sun’s surface), and ~1 million K in the corona, the sun’s atmosphere. At these high temperatures, all of the sun’s material is in the plasma phase, since the outer electrons of individual atoms have enough energy to escape their atomic nuclei, resulting...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Anomaly Databases
    (pp. 29-38)

    Most satellite operators, be they civil, defense, or commercial, likely keep databases of their own satellite anomalies. However, detailed data for defense and commercial satellites are not typically shared publicly or among organizations. Also, these databases do not all conform to the same standard for which data is collected and cataloged, and in which format.

    Here, we discuss examples of existing databases containing anomaly information from multiple satellite owners. We also discuss the concept of a potential future database that would be most useful for the operator community in diagnosing anomalies. The existing databases serve the purposes of particular members...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Meeting the Security Requirements of Contributors
    (pp. 39-50)

    Commercial and DoD operators are often unwilling or unable to share the precise position and velocity of their satellite at a given time (their state vector), as such information could be used to determine the satellite’s orbital trajectory and identity, information the contributor may hold as proprietary or classified. Commercial satellite owners have articulated that they may prefer not to reveal the identity of the spacecraft experiencing anomalies, as it could affect customer confidence. Our discussions with subject matter experts have indicated that these privacy and security concerns likely pose the most significant obstacle to the creation of a centralized...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Observations and Recommendations
    (pp. 51-54)

    Having conducted a literature review, discussions with subject matter experts, and an overview of potentially useful encryption strategies, we arrive at the following observations and recommendations.

    A centralized and standardized satellite anomaly database is recognized by subject matter experts from NOAA, the Aerospace Corporation, and numerous commercial companies as a potentially valuable resource for the satellite operator community. Such a database would aid in anomaly investigations, thus reducing costs and increasing efficiency. As a side benefit, it could also contribute to the scientific understanding of the real-world impacts of the near-Earth space environment, consistent with the scientific goals articulated by...

  13. References
    (pp. 55-62)