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Committee on Assessment of the U.S. Air Force's Astrodynamic Standards

Statement of Task

An ad hoc committee will assess the astrodynamic standards established by Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) and their effectiveness in meeting mission performance needs, as well as possible alternatives.

The Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) uses astrodynamic algorithms to perform satellite orbit determination and prediction in order to maintain a catalog of over 20,000 objects, ranging from active satellites to tiny pieces of orbital debris. AFSPC established this set of astrodynamic algorithms as standards to be used in operational space surveillance mission systems. These standards were implemented to achieve interoperability between the JSpOC and the mission systems and to ensure mission performance.

Specifically, as part of the assessment, the committee will:

1. Assess the current AFSPC astrodynamic standard orbit determination and prediction models for accuracy, interoperability, and ability to meet JSpOC and user mission requirements. The assessment should include an examination of any unique or undocumented needs (such as sharing the standards with industry, mission partners, allies, etc.).

2. Compare and contrast leading industry, academic, and government alternatives, including benefits and drawbacks, to the current AFSPC astrodynamic standard, as well as assess the potential impacts of employing such an alternative on existing data acquisition programs (e.g., Joint Mission System, Space Surveillance Network (SSN) sensors, other users, etc.).

3. Outline options for a strategy of how AFSPC should proceed with using these alternate standards to meet JSpOC and user requirements. The committee’s examination and description of the options should include the following:

a. Near and far term options,
b. A description of each option’s pros and cons,
c. Avenues towards meeting the unique needs identified
d. If warranted, transition approaches or potential difficulties with transitioning should also be described.

4. Examine broader issues concerning overall cost and risk of the options. In its report, the committee should consider detailing these issues for several of the larger users of the standards (such as SSN sensors)

5. Prepare a report with recommendations regarding the optimal strategy to utilize the assessed options.

Committee Membership

Dr. Paul D. Nielsen; NAE Chair
Software Engineering Institute

Mr. Robert F. Morris
The Aerospace Corporation

Dr. Kyle T. Alfriend; NAE ,Vice Chair
Texas A&M University-College Station 
Dr. Aubrey B. Poore
Numerica Cooperation
Mr. Michael J. Bloomfield
Dr. Ryan P. Russell
Georgia Institute of Technology
Dr. John T. Emmert
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory 
Dr. William P. Schonberg
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Dr. Yanping Guo
Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics 
Dr. Daniel J. Scheeres
University of Colorado at Boulder
Dr. Timothy D. Maclay
Celestial Insight, Inc.
Dr. Donald Saari
University of California at Irvine
Dr. James G. Miller
MITRE Corporation
Dr. Ramaswamy Sridharan 
MIT Lincoln Laboratory

 Project Staff

Dr. Dwayne A. Day
Staff Officer 

Andrea Rebholz
Program Associate

Amanda Thibault
Research Associate