Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) at Socorro (U)
(U) The Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) site at Socorro, NM is one of three operational sites performing ground-based optical tracking of space objects. The Socorro (New Mexico, USA), Choe Jong San (South Korea) and Maui (Hawaii, USA) sites were operational by 1983. A fourth site, Diego Garcia (Indian Ocean), was completed in 1987, and a fifth site was planned but later cancelled for Portugal. The South Korean site was closed in 1993 due to weather and cost concerns.
(U) This system supersedes the global network of Baker-Nunn film camera sites which had been in place since 1958 and were finally closed in April 1992 (the St Margarets, New Brunswick, Canada site being the last). The GEODSS system can track space objects as small as a basketball between 5,500-37,000 km. The MIT/Lincoln Labs Experimental Test Site is also located in Socorro, NM where it conducts research and development of electro-optical surveillance systems for deep space sensing utilizing conventional telescopes with highly sensitive detectors. The original GEODSS prototype for R&D continues to operate at this facility. The Air Force has interest in flying a similar system in space which would reduce the impacts of weather (e.g., cloud cover), and be cost-competitve with respect to an international ground system.
Description User Impact Programmatics Images Related Initiatives Related Requirements Related Categories Road Map Placements Additional Hotlinks Lead Office POC
(U) The Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) site at Socorro, New Mexico is one of three sites performing ground-based optical tracking of space objects. To perform its mission, GEODSS brings together the telescope, low-light level television cameras, and computers -- three proven technologies. The Socorro site has two main and one auxiliary telescopes. The main telescope (a Cassegrains) has a 102 cm aperture and a two-degree field of view and is used primarily to search the deep sky for faint (+16 magnitude), slow-moving objects. The auxiliary telescope (a Schmidt) has a 38 cm aperture and six-degree field of view, and does wide area searches of lower altitudes where objects travel at higher relative speeds. The telescopes are able to "see" objects 10,000 times dimmer than the human eye can detect.
(U) The telescopes scan the sky at the same rate as the stars appear to move. This keeps the distant stars in the same positions in the field of view. As the telescopes slowly move, the GEODSS cameras take very rapid electronic snapshots of the field of view. Four computers then take these snapshots and overlay them on each other. Star images, which remain fixed, are electronically erased. Man-made space objects, however, do not remain fixed and their movements show up as tiny streaks which can be viewed on a console screen. Computers measure these streaks and use the data to figure the positions of objects such as satellites in orbits from 5,500-37,000 km. This information is used to update the list of orbiting objects and sent nearly instantaneously from the sites to Cheyenne Mountain AFB. Since GEODSS is an optical system, the system only operates at night, and cloud cover and local weather conditions influence its effectiveness.
User Impact (U):
(U) Any sustained loss of a GEODSS sensor would have dramatic impact on the deep space surveillance mission and maintenance of the space catalogue.
(U) Organizations and Funding:
- (U) AFSPC: Funding Source.
Name Title Soccoro Soccoro This Table Is Unclassified.
Related Initiatives (U):
Name Title CSOC Consolidated Space Operations Centers (CSOC) Diego Garcia Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) at Diego Garcia Diego Garcia GEODSS Upgrades Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) Upgrades at Diego Garcia GEODSS Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance System (GEODSS) Maui Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) at Maui Maui GEODSS Upgrades Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) Upgrades at Maui NCMC-TW/AA NORAD Cheyenne Mountain Complex (NCMC) Threat Warning/Attack Assessment Optical C3 Facility Optical C3 Facility Socorro GEODSS Upgrades Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) Upgrades at Socorro This Table Is Unclassified.
Related Requirements (U):None.
Related Categories (U):
Name Title Dedicated Sensors Dedicated Sensors This Table Is Unclassified.
Road Map Placements (U):
Name Title National Security Space Road Map Integrated System Road Map SPACE CONTROL: S.S. NETWORK SPACE CONTROL: SPACE SURVEILLANCE NETWORK This Table Is Unclassified.
Requirements, Funding and Additional Hotlinks (U):
Name 1997 Space Surveillance Dev Plan 1998 Strategic Master Plan RDT&E Budget Item Project 2295 This Table Is Unclassified.
Lead Office (U):
(U) Air Force.
Point of Contact (U):
Date Of Information (U):
(U) 27 August 1998
(U) Road Map Production Date: 12 July 1999
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