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Characterization of Orbital Debris Photometric Properties Derived from Laboratory-Based MeasurementsTo better characterize and model optical data acquired from ground-based telescopes, the Optical Measurements Center (OMC) at NASA/JSC attempts to emulate illumination conditions seen in space using equipment and techniques that parallel telescopic observations and source-target-sensor orientations. The OMC uses a 75 Watt Xenon arc lamp as a solar simulator, an SBIG CCD camera with standard Johnson/Bessel filters, and a robotic arm to simulate an object's position and rotation. The laboratory uses known shapes, materials suspected to be consistent with the orbital debris population, and three phase angles to best match the lighting conditions of the telescope based data. The fourteen objects studied in the laboratory are fragments or materials acquired through ground-tests of scaled-model satellites/rocket bodies as well as material samples in more/less "flight-ready" condition. All fragments were measured at 10 increments in a full 360 rotation at 6 , 36 , and 60 phase angles. This paper will investigate published color photometric data for a series of orbital debris targets and compare it to the empirical photometric measurements generated in the OMC. Using the data acquired over specific rotational angles through different filters (B, V, R, I), a color index is acquired (B-R, R-I). Using these values and their associated lightcurves, this laboratory data is compared to observational data obtained on the 1 m telescope of the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern (AUIB), the 0.9 m operated by the Small- and Medium-Aperture Research Telescope System (SMARTS) Consortium and the Curtis-Schmidt 0.6 m Michigan Orbital Debris Space Debris Telescope both located at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO). An empirical based optical characterization model will be presented to provide preliminary correlations between laboratory based and telescope-based data in the context of classification of GEO debris objects.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Cowardin, H. (Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Abercromby, K. (California Polytechnic State Univ. San Luis Obispo, CA, United States)
Barker, E. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Seitzer, P. (Michigan Univ. Ann Arbor, MI, United States)
Schildknecht, T. (Bern Univ. Bern, Switzerland)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2010
Subject Category
Space Transportation and Safety
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
OTHER: C036-HY00-0100-ODO
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