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System will seek orbiting space debris
by Staff Writers
Paris (UPI) Sep 12, 2012

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The European Space Agency says it will help develop a radar system to test space debris monitoring to help European satellite operators avoid orbiting hazards.

The ESA and France's ONERA research center have signed a $5.1 million contract with five industrial partners in France, Spain and Switzerland to design and test the surveillance radar system, a release from ESA headquarters in Paris reported.

Early debris detection is crucial to help warn satellite operators of collision risks and enable avoidance maneuvers to be carried out, the ESA said.

Two systems will be developed; a "bistatic" system, where the transmitter and receiver are separated by a distance similar to the expected target distance, and a "monostatic" system where both transmitter and receiver are in the same location.

"Both radar designs will help test and validate techniques for observing orbital debris by conducting comparative testing," ESA Space Situational Awareness manager Gian Maria Pinna said.

"The two radar demonstrators will be part of an initial complex network of sensors, which will also make use of optical telescopes and data processing centers for observation of debris objects in all orbital regions.

"While radar technology works most efficiently for the detection of objects in low and highly elliptical orbits, optical technology is better for objects in medium and geostationary orbits," Pinna said.


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