Telescope Fabra ROA Montsec: a new robotic wide-field Baker-Nunn facilityhttp://www.acktar.com/category/telescope_fabra
The TFRM was installed at the Observatori Astronomic del Montsec (OAdM), in the Catalo- nian Pre-Pyrenees, whose WGS84 coordinates are: φ = 42◦. 0516 N, λ = 0◦. 7293 E, and h = 1570 m HMSL. To date, the OAdM is pioneered by the Consorci del Montsec, an institution run by the Catalonian Government. The observatory is located at the Montsec d’Ares mountain, 50 km South of the central Pyrenees, in the province of Lleida (Spain). The site was chosen after a site-testing campaign. The OAdM also hosts the 0.8 m Joan Or´o Telescope, named in honour of this famous Catalonian researcher.
The installation of the TFRM at OAdM resulted in a number of infrastructure upgrades to the facility as a whole: stable power line, a 100 Mbps Internet access via fiber optics cable, and enhanced security fence.
The International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) is a civilian non-governmental project devoted to space debris research and space situation awareness. TFRM is collaborating with ISON in its sistematic survey of the GEO Protected Zone since 2011 (Agapov et al. 2011). Positional measurements are derived using advanced trailed image reduction techniques included in APEX- II sofware (Devyatkin et al. 2010). As a result of this collaboration, the TFRM is one of the sensors that contributes to the completeness of the objects without Two-Line-Element data of ESA’s DISCOS database, as stated at the last “Classification of Geosynchronous Objects Report” issued by ESA (Floher 2012).
Currently TFRM is observing routinely and can detect an average of 400 GEO objects tracks per night with an accuracy better than 0′.′ 5 in both coordinates and a limit magnitude of 16 mag. Furthermore, the TFRM team is in the process of improving the limit of detection towards fainter GEO objects (Fors et al. 2010c). Typically in a 12 hour night the TFRM is measuring around 2800 positions of 320 different objects.
A good example of the TFRM’s capabilities in the SST field was the early detection after the MSG-3 (Meteosat 10) satellite launch. This GEO satellite was on its way after lifting off on an Ariane 5 at 21:36 UTC on Thursday, 5 July from Europe’s Spaceport at the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. The MSG-3 was first detected by TFRM on the night of 12
July, during our routine collaboration in the ISON geosynchronous space survey. Three tracks (see Fig. 18) were detected over the night with the automatic GEO objects detection software APEX- II. With additional follow-up observations from other telescopes of ISON network, an initial orbit determination was performed by ISON before the satellite TLEs were published, and the results showed that the satellite was indeed the MSG-3, which was drifting East at 3◦ per hour rate. Hence, it was caught maneuvering to its final 0◦ longitude expected geostationary slot.