|Paper title||Safety Assesment for the Concept of Operations of Pseudo Satellite Constellations|
|Form of presentation||Poster|
Pseudo-satellites are unmanned aerial platforms flying at an altitude of 20 km or above, in the region known as stratospheric airspace. This region is particularly interesting for long term operations due to the absence of meteorological phenomena and the high atmospheric stability. For Earth Observation missions it poses a series of advantages with respect to its space counterparts, such as higher resolution imagery due to proximity to the ground, and more persistent operations as they can continuously fly over the same region for longer time intervals.
Despite the idea of exploiting this region of the atmosphere was first suggested as early as the 1990s, it has not been until now, that the industry has begun to devise new vehicles to provide services from the stratosphere, after several development and feasibility projects have reached more advanced stages. So far, this region has remained largely free of air traffic, and it is expected to reach high occupation, standing out for the presence of very diverse new actors, in the frame of New space, with the appearance of those of private nature in opposition to the traditional concept of operations from national agencies. In this new environment, with the added integration of a very heterogeneous group of vehicles, new approaches have arisen to control large fleets of these high altitude vehicles, resembling satellite constellations. This new concept requires a fundamentally innovative technological and regulatory evolution. This evolution, among others aspects, is related with the safe control and operation of these vehicles, their interactions with each other and with other operators
This work presents the study of the safety of the operations of stratospheric platforms constellations. The assessment is conducted according to Eurocontrol Safety Assessment Methodology (SAM). As there are no applicable frameworks nor procedures defined for pseudo-satellite operations, it has been deemed necessary to analyze, prior to SAM, key catastrophic safety feared events in order to determine the main safety functions to ensure safe operations.
This has lead to the identification of relevant mitigation means and safety requirements that need to be achieved to assure an acceptable level of risk. They have ultimately been compared with current procedures used within its space and low altitude counterparts, which, additionally, has proved their feasibility.