Automatic Medium and High Earth Orbit Observation System Based on Stereovision

Funding agency: Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, CNDI–UEFISCDI

Project type:Joint Applied Research Project, PN-II-PT-PCCA-2011-3.2-0651.

Contract number: 210 / 2012
Project coordinated by the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
Partner institutions: BITNET CCSS and the Astronomical Observatory Cluj (AROAC)



The Earth is surrounded by a swarm of satellites and associated debris known as resident space objects (RSOs). All RSOs will orbit the Earth until they reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. There are three main categories namely: Low Earth Orbit (LEO) when the satellite flies at an altitude below 1 500 km, a Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) at an altitude of around 20 000 km, and a Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) (also sometimes called the Clarke orbit) for geostationary satellites at an altitude of 36 000 km. An aditional cathegory, the High Earth Orbit (HEO) is a geocentric orbit whose apogee lies above that of a geosynchronous orbit. Crucial for keeping an eye on RSOs, the Surveillance of Space (SofS) comprises detection, tracking, propagation of orbital parameters, cataloguing and analysis of these objects. Our project proposal, Automatic Medium and High Earth Orbit Observation System Based on Stereovision (AMHEOS), integrates into the SofS effort. The key concept of this project proposal is the use of stereoscopic vision methods applied to very distant astronomical specific objects, namely Medium and High Earth Orbit Satellites. The project will make use of two or three identical observation and photographing systems, with an appropriate geographical distance between them, performing synchronous image acquisition. Stereoscopic and 3D reconstruction specific methods (some which exist, some which will be developed) are intended for accurate position determination and precise orbit estimation of target satellites.