Heimdall Sensor Tasking for SSA
In Norse Mythology, Heimdall uses his foreknowledge and keen eyesight to keep watch for disaster from his home near the Rainbow Bridge. Orbit Logic and its university research partners have developed the Heimdall System to schedule observations of known and uncharacterized objects and search for new objects from ground and space observatories.
SSA Sensor Tasking
Heimdall addresses the current need for automated and optimized SSA sensor tasking driven by factors associated with improved space object catalog maintenance. Orbit Logic, the University of Colorado-Boulder and The University of Texas at Austin have developed a baseline SSA sensor tasking capability using STK Scheduler, and then added a Track Prioritization Component leveraging Random Finite Sets (RFS) in a FISST-based framework for predicted Information Gain and Probability of Detection, and a SSA-specific Figure-of-Merit (FOM) for optimized SSA sensor tasking. In addition, a Heimdall web-based interface provides a user-friendly multi-user experience for any distributed team involved in the SSA sensor tasking enterprise.
Heimdall has been deployed operationally for a government customer and has been successfully demonstrated under an AFRL contract for an Maui Space Surveillance Site (MSSS) SSA sensor tasking scenario for custody observations of all operational satellites in the unclassified NORAD catalog visible from MSSS, repeated observations of a small set of high priority GEO targets, sky survey observations covering the GEO belt region accessible to MSSS sensors, and observations of particular GEO regions that have a higher probability of finding new objects with any excess sensor time.
Heimdall was used as the basis for the Heimdall Web system, also developed and demonstrated under an AFRL contract. Heimdall Web provides a convenient way for government agencies to receive updated, non-tasked routine observation data for the public catalog from commercial and other non-traditional SSA sensor tasking assets (academic, foreign, etc.). An interface is provided for optional tasking for additional observations of selected objects or locations. Heimdall Web is powered by automation and the Heimdall capabilities for multi-asset tasking optimization for any size network of available SSA sensors.
Heimdall solutions for SSA sensor tasking provide greatly improved performance over manual tasking, improved optimization of coordinated sensor usage, and tasking schedules driven by catalog improvement goals (reduced overall covariance, etc.). The improved performance also enables more responsive sensor tasking to address external events, newly detected objects, newly detected object activity, and sensor anomalies. Instead of having to wait until the next day’s scheduling phase, events can be addressed with new tasking schedules immediately (within seconds or minutes).
Perhaps the most important benefit is improved SSA based on an overall improvement to the quality of the space catalog. By driving sensor tasking and scheduling based on predicted information gain and other relevant factors, better decisions are made in the application of available sensor resources, leading to an improved catalog and better information about the objects of most interest.
Heimdall solutions are ready for operational deployment today.
Product Information, Research, & Case Studies
Efficient Sensor Tasking for Space Situational/Domain AwarenessIAC 2022
Combined SSA Sensor Tasking for Space-to-Space and Ground-to-SpaceAMOS 2017
Non-traditional Sensor Tasking for SSA: A Case StudyAMOS 2017
Utilizing Novel Non-traditional Sensor Tasking Approaches to Enhance the Space Situational Awareness Picture Maintained by the Space Surveillance Network AMOS 2016
Heimdall System for MSSS Sensor TaskingAMOS 2015 SSA Sensor Tasking Approach for Improved Orbit Determination Accuracies and More Efficient Use of Ground AssetsAMOS 2013