Satellite Assessment Center

Our Mission is to investigate, develop and transition technologies and to conduct high-fidelity assessments of directed energy, natural, and other man-made effects on space systems.

Who We Are
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate (RD) Satellite Assessment Center (SatAC) is the United States Air Force chartered organization that evaluates directed energy (DE) effects on space systems, performs assessments of space system susceptibilities to directed energy and natural sources, and develops tools to perform satellite and space systems technical analyses.

Space systems include:
· Satellites
· Missiles
· Strategic
· Tactical
· Launch vehicles
· Their respective supporting architectures (including hardware and software)

A continuing requirement exists for studying and quantifying DE effects on space systems especially with the increasing use of directed energy to conduct satellite range finding, calibration, and imaging in addition to the interest in using DE for assessing space situational awareness (SSA).

Current examples include ongoing studies to quantify safe operating conditions (sure-safe thresholds and/or predictive avoidance (PA) criteria) for lasers operating through the atmosphere and space. Survivability requirements for space systems and damage predictions are also being studied.

In order to assess and predict the effects of various energy and physical phenomena on satellites, SatAC develops detailed knowledge and understanding of the physics, engineering, operation, and function of imaging sensors and other satellite components and exploits the associated data.

This in turn requires SatAC to understand to the extent possible the reliability of the information regarding space system spatial properties, construction, and fabrication materials. The Department of Defense (DoD) space community relies on the expertise of the SatAC to answer their most challenging technological issues facing our
on-orbit assets.

IDASS Keeps Improving!
The Directed Energy Directorate's Intelligence Data Analysis System for Spacecraft (IDASS) software provides visualization and analysis capabilities to fuse space surveillance data and space object models to aid assessment of space object health and status.

IDASS supports the workflow of surveillance system operators with efficient data management and familiar data presentations. IDASS meets the needs of researchers with flexible data processing and the ability to handle a range of imagery types and formats.

The software supports various viewing options to enhance space situational awareness (SSA) by providing operators multiple ways to extract information from single images and to correlate data from multiple sources.

The directorate's SatAC developed IDASS from the ground up in order to integrate diverse types of satellite information from various stove-piped sources, including EO and radar. Improvements are made as technology advances. SatAC scientists and engineers have worked for 15 years to develop this revolutionary SSA workstation to fuse 21st century technological information from diverse sources into a more complete space common operational picture (Space COP).

Flight Analyses
SatAC supported return to flight analyses for NASA.

Pre-Launch Support
If you want SatAC to build a model of your satellite before launch and support your launch operations through anomaly assessment.

Laser Clearinghouse
The Air Force's Laser Clearinghouse determines laser firing approval with algorithms developed by SatAC.

It used to be that if any on-orbit assets were flying over head during a laser tests (e.g. the Airborne Laser), no test- ing could be done at that time. To significantly increase the number and length of laser testing windows SatAC wrote algorithms and developed supporting data that took into account whether or not the lasers would affect the assets. United States Strategic Command operates the Laser Clearinghouse.

Focus Areas
Space Situational Awareness
· Assessments & Analysis
· Modeling & Simulation
· Software Development
Operations Technical Reachback
· Modeling & Simulation
· Assessments & Analysis
· Research & Development
· Assessments & Analysis
· Software Development

Real Time Integrated Functions
This selectively-manned unit conducts high-fidelity assessments of directed energy effects on space systems through natural and other man made energy sources. They research, develop and transition new spacecraft assessment capabilities and are at the forefront of space situational awareness R&D for for the Department of Defense and USAF space communities.

The SatAC was called upon several times recently to support various spacecraft anomaly resolution activities to include the NASA IMAGE satellite. On each occasion, SatAC analysts utilized in-house developed codes using data collected from mission partners such as Starfire Optical Range and the Maui Space Surveillance Site to provides detailed spacecraft anomaly resolution analysis to spacecraft owners and space operations centers such as the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Assessments Are #1
The Advanced Systems Assessment Branch of the Satellite Assessment Center (SatAC) is comprised of a series of integrated functions. Each is interconnected with varying degrees of "real-time" feedback in order to process information, better define customer products, and meet customer needs.

These functions include:
· Obtaining information of interest on space
systems - analyzing, understanding, and integrating this information;
· Developing functional and geometric space system models;
· Performing analyses to predict responses to a particular environment or phenomenon;
· Developing and executing field and laboratory experiments to validate the assessed system response; and
· Documenting the result and process.

An important part of this process is the feedback between
the various pieces, which include functions such as:
· Determining how best to organize and archive the information in a database for efficient use and retrieval;
· Developing experimental techniques to extract specific data for simulation and model validation;
· Identifying and filling the knowledge and technology gaps that result in an erroneous or incomplete process.

SatAC is an Air Force Research Laboratory Center of Excellence in resident space object assessment technologies. Through expert workforce and leading edge software and modeling programs, the men and women of SatAC will continue this tradition of excellence for years to come.


Fact File
National Security Decision Directive Number 258, signed by President Reagan in 1987, led to the formal establishment of the Satellite Assessment Center (SatAC). Today, SatAC is also known as the Advanced Systems Assessment Branch at the Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate and is led by Mr. Stan Lokay.

For more information on SatAC's spacecraft analysis tools
and/or modeling capabilities, call 505-846-4353 or DSN 246-4353.