Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory

Space Surveillance and Tracking

The space surrounding our planet is not empty, it is far from it. The near-Earth space region is populated with man-made and natural objects, including satellites, space debris, and minuscule bodies. The near-Earth space environment is constantly changing due to various factors such as the Sun's activity, e.g. direct solar radiation pressure, and the space weather effects it causes in the atmosphere e.g. bulging of the upper atmosphere to higher altitudes and causing more atmospheric drag to the objects on orbits. These changes ultimately affect the orbital parameters such as altitude and velocity of the space objects.

Space surveillance and tracking (SST) enables finding and tracking man-made objects, and additionally natural space bodies. The catalogs of these objects that SST provides contain the orbital information along with the parameters. These can be used to find new objects, catalog and track them, and to make estimates, such as collision avoidance and natural decay timeframes.

Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory's (SGO's) northern geographical location is ideal for the SST as the northern latitudes provide an excellent vantage point for monitoring and tracking satellites and space debris on the polar and near-polar orbits. Simultaneously, the northern location of the observatory and its infrastructure provide world-class scientific-grade measurements and monitoring of space weather phenomena which are known to affect the orbital parameters of space objects.

Last modified: 08 September 2020, 18:30:28.

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