Operational Scheduling of observations and processing of an Optical Telescope Network for Space Situational Awareness

Subject: 

A network of optical telescopes around the globe provides for excellent opportunities in cataloging and monitoring space objects, including space debris, for the purposes of space situational awareness (SSA). Howeever, the large number of object visible at any time to any or all the telescopes makes an interesting conundrum as to which to track, and where to move to next in order to maximise the mission. The Falcon Telescope Network is one such research network that requires the development of optimal algorithms for directing the observing runs, in a way that facilitates maximum number of objects to be observed per night or even day, within the confines of the telescope positions and mounts. The position defines what could be seen and when, and the mount limits the slew rates and directions possible when tracking and switching between objects that are very fast moving across the sky. An opportunity arises in this network to influence the operation of the twelve nodes, and expand to enabling the prediction of objects to focus on. This project would involve on-sky data collection, and support for specific UNSW Canberra satellites on-orbit, as well as the refinement and expansion of current scheduling activities.