Hydrostatic Bearings Double Horseshoe Mount

This mount was originally developed for the low-latitude location of India Institute of Astrophysics.  Later NASA wanted this 20,000 pound fast-tracking non-traditional telescope designed by DFM Engineering for use at Ascension Island near the equator to fill gaps in their debris tracking system.  The Equatorial mount for low latitude is nearly the same as an Altitude over Altitude mount which eliminates both the blind-spot at the zenith and the need to flip the telescope when it crosses the meridian.

Record numbers of satellites are being launched, with a million plus satellites proposed to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) database.  If launched, these proposed satellites, arranged in a group of 300 megaconstellations, will pose an enormous risk of a catastrophic collisions in space.  Space Situational Awareness (SSA), utilizing optical ground stations like NASA Meter Class Autonomous Telescope (MCAT) on Ascension Island, will become increasingly critical to preserving humanity's access to space.

This mount offers fast tracking of debris targets in any direction across the sky in low, medium, and geosynchronous Earth low eccentricity orbits, as well as elliptical medium Earth and geosynchronous transfer orbits (MEO and GTO, respectively) and Molniya orbits. With a larger telescope aperture and a sensitive camera, smaller satellites or pieces of debris are able to be observed orbiting the Earth. With high fidelity tracking, actions in space are captured in detail. MCAT's sensors provide unrivalled positioning accuracy of small, dim and far objects for Space Domain Awareness (SDA) and space control during the day and night. With NASA reported detection sensitivity down to 1cm diameter at LEO and 10cm at GEO, MCAT is making a valuable contribution to our understanding of the space orbital debris environment.