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NORAD's PARCS small satellite tests (1976 and 1978)NORAD sponsored small satellite tests in 1976 and 1978. The purpose of the tests was to use their more sensitive radar to determine the number of Earth orbiting objects which are not part of the official catalogue. Both tests used the PARCS radar. The characteristics of this radar are given. The detection capability of NORAD's operational system is estimated and compared to the PARC's radar sensitivity during these tests. The tests only slightly improved the detection capability, and the largest improvements were at the lowest and highest regions of its sensitivity range. The major conclusion of the test is that 17.7% of the objects detected were uncorrelated (i.e., not in the official catalogue). However, perhaps most significant is the altitutde and size distribution of detected objects are illustrated. The 1978 results are also summarized. This test concluded that at least 7% of the objects detected were not in the official catalogue. Another 6% of the detected objects were not tracked well enough to determine their status. Again, a large percentage of the detected objects at lower altitudes were not in the catalogue.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Kessler, D. J.
(NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 1985
Publication Information
Publication: Orbital Debris
Subject Category
Launch Vehicles And Space Vehicles
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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