The Space Domain Ontologies

In National Symposium on Sensor & Data Fusion Committee (2021)
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Achieving space situational awareness requires, at a minimum, the identification, characterization, and tracking of space objects. Leveraging the resultant space object data for purposes such as hostile threat assessment, object identification, and conjunction assessment presents major challenges. This is in part because in characterizing space objects we reference a variety of identifiers, components, subsystems, capabilities, vulnerabilities, origins, missions, orbital elements, patterns of life, operational processes, operational statuses, and so forth, which tend to be defined in highly heterogeneous and sometimes inconsistent ways. The Space Domain Ontologies are designed to provide a consensus-based realist framework for formulating such characterizations in a way that is both consistent and computable. Space object data are aligned with classes and relations in a suite of ontologies built around the existing Space Object Ontology. They are stored in a dynamically updated Resource Description Framework triple store, which can be queried to support space situational awareness and the needs of spacecraft operators and analysts. This paper provides an overview of the Space Domain Ontologies and their development and use. It presents the motivation for and advantages of the Space Domain Ontologies, including the benefits they provide for enhancing and maintaining long-term space situational awareness.

Author's Profile

Barry Smith
University at Buffalo


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