Current and historical geospatial imagery from GeoEye provides a clear understanding of our changing world for decision makers and analysts in defense and intelligence, public safety, critical infrastructure, energy and online media. A leading source of geospatial information and insight, GeoEye’s wide range of imagery, tools and expertise supports important missions around the globe by protecting lives, managing risk and optimizing resources. Their most advanced satellite imagery, collected by GeoEye‐1 at a resolution of .41 meters (.50 meters for commercial customers) can discern a 16‐inch object on the ground.
Unfortunately spacecraft operations are often unpredictable. The majority of the time a satellite is in orbit, operations for station keeping, systems monitoring, orbit prediction and analysis are very consistent; however, occasionally things aren’t routine and a little extra help is required. Rather than staff for the worst case scenarios, GeoEye has found it more efficient to augment their expert staff with industry experts as required. GeoEye is working in conjunction with engineering services provider Applied Defense Solutions (ADS) for expertise in spacecraft operations.
‐ Shannon Sturtevant, GeoEye
Prior to the September, 2008 launch of GeoEye‐1, ADS was contracted to work with GeoEye’s orbit analysis group and examine their workflows and procedures for GeoEye‐1. As part of this analysis, ADS delivered recommendations and changes to their “Launch & Early Operations” or LEOPS procedures, as well as some tools. Post launch, ADS helped GeoEye by researching tasks to help troubleshoot problems that are not part of the daily operations of the GeoEye‐1 mission.
These tasks include:
- Evaluation of GeoEye’s orbit determination system. A series of recommended changes fine tuning input values to their flight dynamics system increased orbit accuracy by approximately 10%.
- Comparison of orbit propagators from their maneuver planning and prediction systems. Resulted in updated values to better match the accuracy between the two propagators for better comparison results.
- Maneuver calibration analysis. Collaboratively GeoEye and ADS engineers analyzed and diagnosed a discrepancy between planned and actual maneuver results. They identified and implemented changes to the process that increased maneuver efficiency 10 to 15%. This resulted in a tighter accuracy when calibrating maneuvers, yielding better trending and maneuver planning.
- Ephemeris comparison. Conducted a study of both orbit determination and prediction accuracy of the orbit determination (OD) results versus the onboard GPS
navigation solution. Examined if an OD solution was even necessary. Showed that the GPS navigation data is satisfactory for an OD solution but not good for prediction due to correlated velocities