New Observatory Will Track Near-Earth Satellites and Space Debris
by Staff Writers
Stuttgart, Germany (SPX) May 29, 2020
With the construction of a new research observatory, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is taking the next step in determining the nature and trajectory of objects in low-Earth orbit as quickly, precisely and reliably as possible. This is fundamental for the future of spaceflight as it is the only way to prevent collisions between objects such as space debris and active satellites.
One of the research and development objectives of the DLR Institute of Technical Physics is the high-precision distance measurement of orbiting objects using specialised lasers. DLR researchers also want to locate previously unknown orbiting objects and characterise them as accurately as possible using spectral analyses to help precisely determine the wavelength composition of the light emitted by the objects.
This will enable the researchers to identify the type of object, in addition to its orbit and period of rotation. "With the research observatory located at the Empfingen Innovation Campus, we will combine many of our current technological capabilities," explains Thomas Dekorsy, Head of the DLR Institute of Technical Physics in Stuttgart.
"This new and significantly larger telescope will enable us to monitor even smaller objects in orbit and will significantly advance technological developments in this field of research. It is our goal to detect, locate and identify objects which have a size of ten centimetres or less."
15-Meter-High Domed Building Will House a 1.75-Metre-Diameter Telescope
"We are looking forward to cooperating with the Innovation Campus and the local community of Empfingen and thank them for the extensive support," says Dekorsy.
Inauguration in Spring 2021; Research Telescope Will Be the Largest of Its Kind in Europe
A Threat for Space Operations: Low-Earth Orbit Is Getting Crowded
In the long term, this will lead to a substantial increase in the amount of space debris present in this region. This development will threaten both crewed and uncrewed spaceflight. Estimations suggest that around 70,000 satellites and other objects could be in low Earth orbit by the end of the 2020s. In particular, megaconstellations, which are comprised of thousands of satellites, will contribute considerably to this development.
UK commits new funding to combat space debris
London, UK (SPX) May 27, 2020
New government funding for innovative solutions to tackle the growing problem of potentially hazardous space debris, has been announced by the UK Space Agency. There are an estimated 900,000 pieces of space debris larger than 1 cm orbiting the Earth, with only a small proportion of them tracked. The UK Space Agency is providing up to 1 million pounds for organisations to come up with smart solutions to this problem by using cost effective ways to monitor objects in low Earth Orbit, or applyi ... read more
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