Within the ESA’s SSA Period 3 programme the new Data Processing Chain (DPC) is being developed for the NEOSTEL (Fly-Eye) telescope. The main purpose is to detect new NEOs through wide-field survey observations.
The DPC will simultaneously process images from all cameras, extract detections, building tracklets, check it with the existing catalogue and identify new discoveries. Although the main focus is on NEO observations, the SST functionality is also available. The processing is divided into two main components – LightEngine and the Automatic Asteroid and Satellite Processor (ASAP).
LightEngine is responsible for the pre-processing of raw data, plate solution of all incoming images. It uses a variety of catalogues including the latest Gaia catalogue. It is designed in such a way that it provides astrometric solution in near real time. It identifies stellar and non-stellar detections and passes it to the ASAP.
ASAP is another key part of the DPC which takes the identified detections from each image. It combines detections from all cameras to one single field. When several images over the same sky region are available, it starts building tracklets. They are compared to the existing asteroid catalogue from the Minor Planet Center (MPC). New discoveries can be reviewed by the operator. Additional tracking data can be requested through the Scheduling and Command Message (SCM). It is provided through the Orbit Calculator module, making use of a ranging method for orbit determination.
The DPC also counts with powerful computing servers. The architecture design assures the redundancy of the system. Large storage capacity enables to store on site data for several months.