Workshop on Novel/Non-traditional Observation Techniques

Date/time/place: 29th July, 13:30 -18:15 (BST), online.
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The main technologies currently used for Space Situational Awareness (SSA) are radar, optical telescope and reflected laser tracking. These technologies alone cannot provide the comprehensive and persistent SSA that is becoming increasingly vital due to the increase in orbital traffic, space debris and the resulting higher probability of collisions. This event will explore a range of novel, non-traditional ground and space-based SST techniques used for characterising objects in space, including:

  • Wide Field of View Optical sensors
  • On-orbit RF surveillance
  • IR surveillance from the ground – COATES
  • Light Curve Analysis for Space Object Observation
  • Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors in space debris identification and tracking
  • Laser illumination for orbital object characterisation
  • Characterisation of GEO objects from the ground using interferometry

The workshop programme will feature a range of 20-minute presentations from members of academic community, defence, commercial and industry experts.


The overall aim is to generate discussion about these various techniques and to identify areas for deeper discussion and research that could potentially form the focus of one or more sandpits. The expectation for participants is to generate support for subsequent scoping studies/proof of concept studies applications for potential GNOSIS funding.


13:30 – Welcome & Introduction (Don Pollacco, Warwick)

1st Session (13:35 – 15:05)

13:35 “Resident Object Observation System” (Anirudh Sharma, Digantara, India)

13:55 “High Power Millimetre Wave Radar for ISAR Imaging” (Duncan Robertson, St Andrews), (Colin Whyte, Strathclyde)

14:15 “Potential use of Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors (MKIDs) in space debris identification and tracking” (Saeed Vahedikamal, UCL)

14:35 “On-orbit RF surveillance” (Francis Kinsella, Airbus)

14:55 – Q&A (10 mins)

Break (15:05 – 15:15)

2nd Session (15:15 – 16:45)

15:15 “Laser illumination for orbital object characterisation” (Nazim Bharmal, Durham)

15:35 “Exploiting observational strategies to obtain high cadence photometric information” (James Blake, Warwick)

15:55 “IR surveillance from the ground – COATS” (Mike Trethewey, Control Loop Concepts Ltd.)

16:15 “Novel Light Curve Applications in SSA Analysis” (Laurence Blacketer, NORSS)

16:35 – Q&A (10 mins)

Break (16:45 – 16:55)

3rd Session (16:55 – 18:05)

16:55 “Characterisation of GEO objects from the ground using interferometry” (Nazim Bharmal, Durham University)

17:15 “Possible application of hyperspectral imaging to space debris identification and tracking”  (Prof. Ian Hepburn, UCL)

17:35 “Software Defined Multi-Static Radar System for SSA” (Ricky D’Costa, Clutch Space Systems)

17:55 – Q&A (10 mins)

Closing Remarks (18:05 – 18:15)

18:05 – ‘The Way Ahead’ (Ralph Dinsley, NORSS, UK)

18:15 – Close

Call for Abstracts

Abstracts for this workshop are invited from across the GNOSIS Network on any of the above topics or other novel SST techniques. Please contact us if you have something you wish to present.