Optical observations of ordinary geosynchronous satellites can provide valuable information on the low degree and order gravity field of the Earth. Satellites for use by the campaign for optical observations of geosynchronous satellites for geophysical purposes (COGEOS) must be spin axis stabilised and orbital and altitude manoeuvres must be infrequent. COGEOS takes advantage of the first geosynchronous satellite to carry laser reflectors (ie METEOSAT-P2).
Progress to date is as follows:
establishment of a network of observatories in Europe and the western Soviet Union;
investigation of charge coupled diode camera techniques;
laser tracking of METEOSAT-P2;
development of a new observation method based on interferometric techniques;
identification of target satellites;
development of orbital elements and software for generating ephemerides;
development and checking of data analysis software;
study of the long term evolution of satellites which have moved away from the libration region.
A wealth of results has already been contributed on the dynamics of synchronous satellites.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts