ISG delivers training on MDSS to US Space Systems Command

In April 2024 ISG delivered a training course on its Maneuver Decision Support System (MDSS) for SSA Risk Assessment & Maneuver Planning – for the SDA TAP Lab (US Space Systems Command) and staff at the Space Surveillance Telescope (also under US Space Systems Command). The training was financed by the Defence Innovation Unit (DIU), in partnership with ExoAnalytic Solutions.

MDSS forecasts satellite conjunctions and provides operators with an urgency metric for improved event prioritisation and manoeuvre planning. The tool forecasts the evolution of the probability of collision and miss distance over time to ensure that high risk conjunctions events are well planned for-well ahead of time of closest approach.

MDSS Dashboard displaying analysis for conjunction between NASA’s Aura satellite and Cosmos-2251 debris


MDSS also produces a maneuver trade-space graph to assist operators in making optimal maneuvers – in the case where an event requires mitigation. The maneuver trade-space displays the probability of collision resulting from a range of maneuver Delta-V’s over a range of times to allow operators to quickly and intuitively understand the maneuver options available to them.

MDSS displaying the maneuver trade-space graph showing conjunction mitigation options for the primary satellite.


The training focused on the use of MDSS to address three main problems in SSA/STM, adding rigour to a subjective human decision-making process:
* Maneuver decisions requiring substantial resource planning – including calling operators in ahead of time, and requiring a non-trivial, complex data-based decision to maneuver early or wait.
* Wasted resources if the probability of collision drops off when the maneuver is not necessary, resulting in fuel wasted and mission affected unnecessarily.
* False alarms and disregarding of real alarms that can lead to ignored warnings and potentially catastrophic consequences.

Satellite operators would use this tool to predict the likelihood of an orbital collision in the LEO regime and suggest viable maneuvers to prevent or reduce the probability of a collision, enhancing the overall safety of the space assets.
The training follows a strong partnership between ExoAnalytic Solutions and ISG as a result of previous joint projects. Projects include the containerisation of the MDSS tool for the GSIP project – demonstrated at SSCA-TY, and at SACT 23-1 in November 2022 where it was used to inform operators and add situational awareness on several live and simulated events.