Determining the Rotation Periods of an Inactive LEO Satellite and the First Korean Space Debris on GEO, KOREASAT 1

  • Choi, Jin ;
  • Jo, Jung Hyun ;
  • Kim, Myung-Jin ;
  • Roh, Dong-Goo ;
  • Park, Sun-Youp ;
  • Lee, Hee-Jae ;
  • Park, Maru ;
  • Choi, Young-Jun ;
  • Yim, Hong-Suh ;
  • Bae, Young-Ho ;
  • Park, Young-Sik ;
  • Cho, Sungki ;
  • Moon, Hong-Kyu ;
  • Choi, Eun-Jung ;
  • Jang, Hyun-Jung ;
  • Park, Jang-Hyun
  • Received : 2016.05.11
  • Accepted : 2016.06.02
  • Published : 2016.06.15


Inactive space objects are usually rotating and tumbling as a result of internal or external forces. KOREASAT 1 has been inactive since 2005, and its drift trajectory has been monitored with the optical wide-field patrol network (OWL-Net). However, a quantitative analysis of KOREASAT 1 in regard to the attitude evolution has never been performed. Here, two optical tracking systems were used to acquire raw measurements to analyze the rotation period of two inactive satellites. During the optical campaign in 2013, KOREASAT 1 was observed by a 0.6 m class optical telescope operated by the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI). The rotation period of KOREASAT 1 was analyzed with the light curves from the photometry results. The rotation periods of the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite ASTRO-H after break-up were detected by OWL-Net on April 7, 2016. We analyzed the magnitude variation of each satellite by differential photometry and made comparisons with the star catalog. The illumination effect caused by the phase angle between the Sun and the target satellite was corrected with the system tool kit (STK) and two line element (TLE) technique. Finally, we determined the rotation period of two inactive satellites on LEO and geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) with light curves from the photometry. The main rotation periods were determined to be 5.2 sec for ASTRO-H and 74 sec for KOREASAT 1.


KOREASAT 1;ASTRO-H;rotation period;differential photometry;light curve


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