The project will develop the concept of an intelligent payload termed Satellite Proximity Surveillance System or SatProx that can automatically monitor the near region (< 30km) of a geostationary (GEO) satellite for potential approaches by an adversarial satellite. Such unexpected rendezvous manoeuvres, which occur surreptitiously at low relative speeds (< 0.7 m/s), could indicate hostile on orbit activities such as shadowing, interference and hijacking. By providing early warning, SatProx buys valuable time for the host satellite to engage in mitigation strategies.
The project will produce the design and specification of SatProx, including the sensor suite (e.g., optical, IR, thermal, LiDAR) and edge data processing subsystem that can support real-time inference on the data stream to automatically detect and raise alarm on potential incoming spacecraft. The project will also develop graphical simulation software that can render the GEO environment for the optical channel (visible spectrum) under varying conditions environmental conditions, including simulated encroachment by other adversarial satellites. Based on the simulation software, machine learning algorithms for real-time adversarial satellite detection and physical characterisation (shape, pose and trajectory of adversarial satellite) will be developed. The algorithms will then be demonstrated on the simulation environment with edge processing hardware (embedded GPU or FPGA) in the loop.
Professor Tat-Jun Chin, The University of Adelaide