AAS 99-198

Satellite Tracking Using Ambient RF (STAR) Part 1: Overview

W.M. Rezzonico, C.T. Krinsky, R.A. Racca, M.F. Storz

USAF Space Warfare Center, Schriever AFB, CO


The Satellite Tracking using Ambient RF (STAR) concept involves a new way of performing space surveillance. It uses non-cooperative commercial television transmission to obtain satellite state vectors to augment the Air Force Space Surveillance Network. With the number of objects in space increasing, the requirement for space tracking capability is also increasing. However, decreasing budgets make the construction of additional conventional sensors unlikely. Existing television transmitters provide a free source of RF energy for detecting and tracking low earth orbiting satellites under the proper conditions. Since this technique relies on passive collection, it is relatively inexpensive to operate and maintain, The demonstration has four basic objectives: (1) determine the detection size and range for space objects, (2) determine how accurately and how many objects can be tracked simultaneously, (3) establish whether satellite tracks can be correlated to known objects when searching for unknown objects, and (4) estimate the operational costs.