Space situational awareness applications for radio astronomy assets

Galen Watts, John M. Ford, H. Alyson Ford

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) builds, operates, and maintains a suite of premier radio antennas, including the 100m aperture Green Bank Telescope, the largest fully-steerable antenna in the world. For more than five decades the NRAO has focused on astrophysics, providing researchers with the most advanced instruments possible: large apertures, extremely low-noise receivers, and signal processors with high frequency and time resolution. These instruments are adaptable to Space Situational Awareness (SSA) tasks such as radar detection of objects in near-Earth and cis-Lunar space, high accuracy orbit determination, object surveillance with passive methods, and uplink and downlink communications. We present the capabilities of antennas and infrastructure at the NRAO Green Bank Observatory in the context of SSA tasks, and discuss what additions and modifications would be necessary to achieve SSA goals while preserving existing radio astronomy performance. We also discuss how the Green Bank Observatory's surrounding topography and location within the National Radio Quiet Zone will enhance SSA endeavors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSensors and Systems for Space Applications VIII
EditorsKhanh D. Pham, Genshe Chen
ISBN (Electronic)9781628415858
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventSensors and Systems for Space Applications VIII - Baltimore, United States
Duration: Apr 20 2015Apr 21 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceSensors and Systems for Space Applications VIII
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Antenna
  • Radar
  • Radio astronomy
  • Receiver
  • Satellite
  • Space situational awareness
  • Transmitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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