Skip to main content

Determination of Attitude and Attitude Motion of Space Debris, using Laser Ranging and Single-Photon Light Curve Data

Georg Kirchner1,Michael Steindorfer1,Peiyuan Wang1,Franz Koidl1,Jiri Silha2,Thomas Schildknecht2,Holger Krag3,Tim Flohrer3
Austrian Academy of Sciences1Astronomical Institute, University of Bern2ESA/ESOC, Space Debris Office, Darmstadt3

Document details

Publishing year2017 PublisherESA Space Debris Office Publishing typeConference Name of conference7th European Conference on Space Debris
Pagesn/a Volume
T. Flohrer, F. Schmitz


The ESA project ‘Debris Attitude Motion Measurements and Modeling’ aims to determine spin parameters – like spin period, spin axis orientation, and their evolution during time – using laser ranging, passive optical methods, and radar.
This contribution will address the setup, operation and performance of the Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR) Station Graz, and how Graz data contributes to precise determination of attitude and attitude motion of debris targets, using both laser ranging to cooperative debris targets (usually defunct satellites with retro-reflectors) and single-photon light curve recording (also to uncooperative targets - debris without any retro-reflectors). The target sizes varies from small – e.g. cube sats – up to large targets like Envisat, in distances from a few 100 km (LEO) up to geostationary orbits (GEO), and with spin periods from a few seconds up to several 100 seconds.