OrCa1 (Orbital Calibration, TDO-2, Technology Demonstration Orbiter, TDO 2 Spacecraft)

TDO-2 (OrCa1)
TDO-2 (OrCa1)
Spacecraft OrCa1 (Orbital Calibration, TDO-2, Technology Demonstration Orbiter, TDO 2 Spacecraft)
Form factor CubeSat
Units or mass 12U
Status Reentry 2022-09-28. Passive (No other public information found as of 2020-04-10. SmallSat 2023 paper on OrCa1.)
Launched 2020-03-26
NORAD ID 45464
Deployer CSD (Canisterized Satellite Dispenser) [Planetary Systems Corporation]
Launcher Atlas V
Entity name Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
Institution University
Entity type Academic / Education
Country US
Manufacturer AIVT by Georgia Institute of Technology
Launch brokerer Parsons, Adaptive Launch Solutions
Partners Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)

Second CubeSat in GTO. Test orbital debris tracking technologies.


Second CubeSat in GTO. Test orbital debris tracking technologies. Test new capabilities of small satellites used by U.S. government agencies. Carrying multiple U.S. Government payloads that will provide optical calibration capabilities, which will support space domain awareness. The mission is to support space domain awareness through optical calibration and satellite laser ranging.

When observing Resident Space Objects (RSOs) from ground-based optical telescopes, the physical properties of the RSO are often unknown, or only partially known. This includes information such as the pose or material composition of the RSO. This makes it challenging to separate artifacts such as inaccurate modeling of atmospheric refraction from the unknown physical properties of the target RSO.

This was the primary motivation behind the original Orbital Calibration (OrCa1) mission, launched in Q2 2020. This initial mission was a purely passive satellite – designed, built, qualified, and delivered in just six weeks -- with the exterior side panels consisting of well-characterized reflective panels that were designed to permit comparison of observed and “true” reflectance spectrums for calibration of a high-fidelity atmospheric reflectance model currently being developed at GTRI.


Unfortunately, after deployment, the OrCa1 spacecraft was never subsequently tracked, so no data has been gathered on OrCa1 to date. While OrCa1 may still ultimately be tracked, this paper describes the follow-on effort, the Orbital Calibration 2 (OrCa2) mission.

Sources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
Photo sources [1] [2]
Keywords GTO or GEO orbit, SSA-Space Situational Awareness, Beyond LEO orbit

Last modified: 2023-12-18

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