The Space Data Association (SDA), an orbital information sharing consortium of commercial satellite operators, has contracted with Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI) to develop and operate a system to monitor satellites along the geosynchronous belt, SDA announced April 13.
The nonprofit SDA was founded in 2009 by Intelsat, SES and Inmarsat to better share information on satellite locations to avoid on-orbit collisions and radio frequency interference. Eutelsat and Telesat have announced plans to join the organization.
To date, satellite operators have relied on informal information sharing arrangements with one another and limited data supplied by the U.S. Air Force to avoid catastrophes on orbit. Exton, Pa.-based AGI was put under contract to develop the Space Data Center, which will process orbital data supplied by the firms and provide automatic notifications about possible conjunctions and interference.
The Space Data Center will reach its initial operating capability within six weeks, and full operating capability in eight months, Tobias Nassif, SDA director and Intelsat vice president of satellite operations, said at an April 13 press conference.
The value of the AGI contract was not announced.