Orbit parameters of newly detected HEO space debris objects

New dictionary with IDs of duplicated objects added in duplicates.txt file.

Since 15.09.2014 ephemeris are given with a time step of 10 minutes.

Since 04.08.2014 the selection of objects by intrinsic stellar magnitude (prior is was not weaker than 16m) has been removed.


Russia is working on monitoring of near-Earth space for many years. Key partners in this work are JSC "Vimpel Interstate Corporation” and Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics (IAM) involved in the development and practical implementation of algorithms and programs for the collection, processing and analysis of measurement data obtained by means of optical observations.

Orbits with a period of over 200 minutes are mainly investigated, which basically include geostationary space objects and objects with large eccentricity orbits. These two areas of near-Earth space are the least investigated. During monitoring process of these areas optical observers detect vast number of objects having different orbital and physical characteristics that impede their trajectory detection and subsequent tracking. Therefore, the effectiveness of the existing work largely depends on the quality of algorithms and sophistication of implemented models of motion and measurement processing. Thanks to close cooperation between the Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics, which is Russia's leading institute in the field of solving applied celestial mechanics problems, and of OJSC Vimpel, which has a unique 40 - years experience in developing , testing and practical implementation of Software for carrying out the various tasks associated with maintaining the catalog of artificial space objects, it is was made possible to provide an effective solution to the problem of obtaining, processing and analysis of optical measurements. Hundreds of previously unknown space debris objects were found, including substantially large objects, that formed over decades of space activity, but which were not duly tracked by ground-based monitoring stations and as a result have been lost. Information on such objects is missing from publicly available sources, including SpaceTrack website, supported by the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) USA.

One of the most important criteria to ensure spacecraft mission safety is the presence of a comprehensive, accurate and actual information about other objects that may approach these spacecrafts to close distances. Based on this premise, it would be advisable to supplement existing public sources by information about HEO objects, which was obtained during the last years.

This article begins a series of newsletters that are intended to provide some results of monitoring of space debris, primarily in high orbits.

The newsletters contain the following information:

  1. The above-mentioned list of space debris objects, mainly in the areas of geostationary and highly elliptical orbits. For each object, current parameters of orbit and generalized characteristics of accuracy, the average value of intrinsic magnitude calculated for diffuse sphere model and the average value of area to mass ratio estimation are given.
  2. Ephemeris of objects in the period of validity of orbital data.
  3. Comparative data of object detection date/time with the date of the first appearance of data about these objects in other public sources.

The information provided in this bulletin is prepared jointly by the data-analysis center of near-Earth space monitoring (DAC NESM) of JSC "Vimpel Interstate Corporation” and Keldysh IAM. Orbital data obtained in the DAC NESM of JSC Vimpel from optical information of International Space Observation Network (ISON) and their partners (JSC Vimpel, JSC SPC, NGN, ISTP, INASAN, USU).

Information is given for the time of ascending node, closest to 24:00:00.000 UTC of the date of list formation.

Each row in the list contains information on one space object (SO), which includes 15 parameters:

  1. the sequence number;
  2. the number of SO, constant for a given object in a series of publications;
  3. the date of the first measurement obtained on the object (day, month , year - [DDMMYYYY] );
  4. reference time of orbital parameters in UTC, day, month, year, hours, minutes, seconds ( [DDMMYYYY HHMMSS] );
  5. the gap between the reference time and the latest update of the orbital parameters (time interval without measurements ), [days];
  6. major semi-axis of the orbit, [km];
  7. orbit inclination, [degrees];
  8. right ascension of ascending node of orbit, [degrees] ;
  9. eccentricity of the orbit, [];
  10. argument of latitude at the reference time, [degrees];
  11. argument of perigee , [degrees];
  12. average value of the ratio of effective area to mass, [m2/kg];
  13. SO magnitude, [m];
  14. time uncertainty of object passing the orbit point at reference time (longitudinal SO position uncertainty) at a confidence level of 0.5, [minutes] (values less than 100 minutes );
  15. position uncertainty if SO transversely at reference time for the confidence level of 0.5, [km] (values less than 1000 km).

Ephemeris are given for each SO with uncertainty of object passing the orbit point at reference time (parameter 14) less than 20 minutes. They are contained in a separate file, the name of which contains the number of SO and the reference time of the orbit. These are rectangular coordinates of SO in J2000 coordinate system with a time step of 1 minute (since 15.09.2014 - with a time step of 10 minutes), starting from the reference time of the orbit and for the week ahead.

Orbital parameters are osculating Keplerian elements in the inertial coordinate system referred to the epoch J2000.

Orbital parameters are obtained using a numerical model of the motion. This model takes into account perturbations from the Earth's gravitational field (geopotential harmonics up to the eighth inclusive), the gravitational field of the Moon and the Sun (as point-masses in accordance with DE-405 model), the Earth's atmosphere (in accordance with GOST R 25645.166-2004 ), Sun radiation pressure.

The average value of effective area to mass ratio is obtained by averaging the instantaneous values obtained at different time moments, which put measurements in agreement with total disturbances arising as a result of atmospheric drag on SO and light pressure.

SO magnitude is the median average of the measured values in the apparent magnitude in integral light, adjusted to zero phase angle and range of 40000 km in the model of diffusely reflecting sphere.

For most of the SO real position errors of the object at reference time, do not exceed twice the value of uncertainty 14) and 15) in the longitudinal and transverse directions.

Information about known dates of first appearance of data about individual objects in other public sources and numbers assigned to the specified objects in these sources is given in addition.

For the objects, which appeared at the American website space-track.org, the file datefirst.txt contains alongside with the object number in the list “Nvym” and our date of detection “t_det_v”, its NORAD number “Nnor” and corresponding date of first information at the website space-track.org “t_det_n”.

All data will be issued at regular intervals (once a week, TBD).

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