The program is aimed at solving problems related to the efficiency of obtaining observational data on near-Earth space (NES) objects, expanding the sky scanning area and improving the resolution and sensitivity of the obtained images. To do this, it is proposed to create a local network with ATO telescopes using modern telecommunication technologies (Internet of Things, IoT), which will allow more efficient observation and scanning of the NES region of interest. The basis of the SST network will be new optical instruments with apertures of 70 cm and 80 cm and existing (WFOS-40, RC500 and AZT-20) fully automated and remotely controlled telescopes.
The creation of the network of telescopes pursues the following goals: (1) to expand the capabilities of the SST segment, through new wide-field instruments with greater penetrating power; (2) to participate more effectively in international monitoring projects and programs to study asteroids, active galactic nuclei (AGNs), optical afterglows of gamma-ray bursts and other variable objects and phenomena; (3) to create a unified logically connected software and hardware environment with the ability to scale, namely: the distribution of tasks among telescopes, a unified data exchange format, an automated system for monitoring and maintaining telescopes and equipment, a unified automated complex for data processing and analysis, the ability to integrate into a future system of other instruments and telescopes; (4) use the multifunctionality of the network for research in the field of fundamental astrophysics.
The program is the first step in FAI’s strategy to develop an international network of telescopes. The overall strategy is aimed at expanding the capabilities of Kazakhstan’s observatories for NES monitoring. Currently, Kazakhstan does not have such NES observing facilities outside the country, but the need for them exists and will be growing with an increase in the number of objects in near-Earth space.

The goal of the Program
Development of the space surveillance and tracking (SST) system for monitoring near-Earth space and determining positions and dynamics of objects of artificial and natural origin. This is the first step in FAI’s overall strategy to deploy a global, scalable network of telescopes.

The tasks of the Program
In accordance with the scientific and technical task #2 of the Competitive documentation “Creation of a network of telescopes in Kazakhstan for the development of a national system of space situational awareness”, the following tasks must be solved:

Task 1. Developing a new wide-field optical system with an aperture of up to 70 cm for the network of Kazakhstani telescopes of the National Space Surveillance and Tracking/Monitoring system (Space Surveillance and Tracking, SST).
The wide-field optical system with an aperture of up to 70 cm (WFOS-70) is an optical telescope on a mount installed in a pavilion with an automated dome. The need for a new wide-field system is due to growing number of tracked objects in the near-Earth space, and at the same time decrease in their reflective surface (micro and nanosatellites, small-sized fragments of space debris), as well as an increase in the significance of tracking small-sized objects of natural origin (meteorites, asteroids). To do this, the system must have a larger aperture than the WFOS-40 and, preferably, a similar or larger field of view for efficient entire sky survey. The development of wide-field systems of large aperture is a complex technological process. The chosen aperture of 70 cm dictated by the maximum balance of the costs of its manufacture and the efficiency of sky survey, as well as the efficiency of using the system as part of the network of telescopes at the Assy-Turgen Observatory. Minimum requirements: FOV = 3.8° ⨉ 3.8°, covering the WFOS-40 FOV = 3.75° ⨉ 2.5°.

Task 2. Expansion of computational and storage resources for processing large amounts of observational data, modeling and analysis of model data.
This task is aimed at expanding the capabilities of the FAI (Almaty) and ATO (Assy-Turgen plateau) computational facilities. The need for this is dictated by large amounts of data generated by the optical instruments of the ATO, the transmission of which without preliminary processing is extremely difficult. At the same time, the increase in the number of tracked objects, as well as significant growth of the necessary calculations for medium-term forecasts of the situation in the NES, necessitate powerful computing resources, which are difficult and largely impractical to be maintained at ATO due to its remoteness and the cost of power supply (diesel generator). It is proposed to organize the cluster infrastructure in the following way – preliminary processing and storage of observational data and their compactification will be performed at ATO. Then, the observational data will be transferred to the main FAI computing cluster for long-term storage and deep processing, as well as to facilitate their sharing. To this end, it is proposed to expand the computing and storage capabilities of ATO with a 384-thread computing server and about 100 terabytes of disk space. The storage capacity of the cluster at FAI is planned to be expanded to 960 terabytes, which will allow long-term storage of at least a 5-year volume of observational data assuming the rate of 1 TB of data per night and the presence of 180 observational nights per year [1].

Task 3. Development of a technology and methods for efficient monitoring and analysis of data coming from a network of telescopes.
The network of telescopes deployed at ATO includes complementary instruments designed to perform various observational tasks. There is a prospect of integrating geographically remote optical telescopes into the network in the future. Thus, the current task in the proposed program comes as the first conceptual step in developing efficient technology and methods for operation of the network of telescopes. For the effective use of the instruments, depending on the observation conditions, the goals set, the chosen priority, the availability of observation time and the available hardware in the active mode, it is necessary to: (1) develop an efficient monitoring technology — a general concept for conducting search and survey program observations, as well alert interruptions for high-priority objects within a network of telescopes interconnected by a single logic; (2) to develop a data analysis technique — a multilevel system for processing observational data for searching and identifying NES objects.

Task 4. To develop a network of telescopes, including a new wide-field optical system, an upgraded 80-cm telescope, and other telescopes of the Assy-Turgen Observatory named after the academician Tuken Omarov.
A network of telescopes is an array of optical telescopes installed at the ATO and integrated into a single software and hardware monitoring system for the near-Earth and deep-space observations. The network should have such capabilities as: distribution of tasks by telescopes, a single data exchange format, a system for remote monitoring and operation of telescopes and equipment, a single automated data processing and analysis complex, the possibility of integrating other instruments and telescopes into this system in the future, including those located at observatories at different geographical locations. To expand the network’s capabilities, it is planned to modify the Zeiss-800 telescope, which includes a significant increase in the field of view of the telescope, the manufacture of an automated pavilion and automation of the control system.

Task 5. Further development of spectral methods for the identification of near-Earth space objects (NEO).
One of the instruments of the network being developed at the ATO is AZT-20, which has the largest aperture and is equipped with a highly efficient slit spectrograph. In the case of near-Earth object detection using optical surveys (WFOS-40, WFOS-70, Zeiss-800M), the characteristics of which are unknown or poorly studied, their refinement will be carried out using a slit spectrograph and a photometer mounted in the prime focus of AZT-20. The expected results of the task are: the spectral class of asteroids, photometric characteristics of low-luminosity objects (color indices, light curves), spectrophotometric parameters of the GEO (type of satellite by reflective spectrum, periods of brightness variation).