Germany Awards Contract for Space-tracking Work

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PARIS — Vega Space GmbH of Germany will provide equipment and training for the new German Space Situational Awareness Center in Uedem under a contract that calls for the hardware and software to be installed by July, Darmstadt-based Vega announced.

Financial details were not disclosed. The center, operated by the German Armed Forces, is expected to develop an initial operating capability to track objects in space by 2019.

Vega said that among the resources it will provide under the contract is a space objects data catalog collating information from multiple sources including the European Space Agency’s Database and Information System Characterizing Objects in Space (DISCOS).

Germany and France currently operate ground radars that, when used together, can provide a basic assessment of what satellites are passing over European territory. Several European institutions, including the European Space Agency, are trying to assemble support for an operational system that could reduce Europe’s dependence on the U.S. Space Surveillance Network of ground and space-based sensors.

Yet to be decided is when sufficient financing for a European system will be available, and from where, and whether the system will be controlled by civil or military authorities.

Vega said its work on the German facility will include contributions from the Technical University of Braunschweig, and Analytical Graphics Inc. of the United States.