Space Situational Awareness
LeoLabs, the Silicon Valley space mapping startup, announced Oct. 14, initial operation of the Kiwi Space Radar, the firm’s third space surveillance radar and first with updated technology to track debris as small as two centimeters in low Earth orbit.
The future of space situational awareness will increasingly rely on governments and companies sharing data that can be used to improve knowledge of space objects and create more accurate warnings of close approaches.
LeoLabs, a company mapping low Earth orbit with ground-based radars, unveiled a commercial tracking service called LeoTrack for small satellites and cubesats Aug. 5 at the Small Satellite Conference here.
Orbital Atlas will be tested at the Combined Space Operations Center and the National Space Defense Center.
ExoAnalytic Solutions, a company that tracks satellites and space debris using ground-based telescopes, announced a partnership April 1 with NorthStar Earth and Sky, a Canadian startup developing a constellation of 40 satellites that will track objects in space.
U.S. combatant commanders urgently need to solve pressing problems in Earth observation, missile warning and position, navigation and timing, said Chuck Finley, former technical director of the Operational Responsive Space and its successor the Air Force Space Rapid Capabilities.
As the Commerce Department works on plans to take over civilian space traffic management responsibilities, the U.S. Air Force is making more data available on the positions of military satellites.
As SpaceX prepares to launch a Falcon 9 carrying dozens of small satellites, some experts are worried that it will be difficult to track and identify the satellites once in orbit.
AGI, in partnership with a Canadian company, announced May 23 that it has established the first commercial radar system capable of tracking objects in geostationary orbit and beyond.
SAN FRANCISCO — In June, Lockheed Martin plans to complete integration of the U.S. Air Force Space Fence on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands and begin tracking objects, at least in a testing mode.
Full integration and testing …
Astroscale, a Singapore-based startup focused on space debris mitigation, has raised $25 million from investors in Japan, including aviation company ANA Holdings and industrial machinery provider OSG Corp.
Maintaining safety of space operations in the increasingly congested and contested space environment will require a paradigm shift in space situational awareness, including increased collaboration and active space traffic management.
Launchspace Technologies Corp. proposes sending platforms as large as football fields into low Earth orbit to sweep up space debris. The platforms also would be equipped with sensors to help U.S. government agencies detect and track orbiting satellites and debris.
Commercial firms are developing models, simulations, algorithms and proposing new sensors to help the government improve its ability to tackle the problems of adversaries and orbital debris threatening U.S. satellites.