A new electro-optical system has been developed that will identify, track and characterise debris objects in space from Earth. The technology will provide both government and commercial organisations with more comprehensive information about space debris, which will allow them to better protect their satellites.
The new development has come under a partnership between Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company, and producer of space technologies Electro Optic Systems. It will be located at an object tracking site in Western Australia, and will employ a combination of lasers and sensitive optical systems as well advanced sensors and software, to focus on specific objects and determine how fast they’re moving, what direction they’re spinning, and what they’re made of.
The system will complement radar-based systems such as the United States' Air Force’s Space Fence, a technology solution which will replace the Air Force's current space surveillance system, by using S-band ground-based radars to sweep the sky and track 200,000 objects.
‘Ground-based space situational awareness is a growing priority for government and commercial organisations around the world that need to protect their investments in space,’ said Rick Ambrose, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Space Systems. ‘Through this agreement with Electro Optic Systems, we’ll offer customers a clearer picture of the objects that could endanger their satellites, and do so with great precision and cost-effectiveness.’
‘The partnership with Lockheed Martin will help both organisations establish a global network of space sensors, while simultaneously increasing the market reach of the partners’ data and services,' added Electro Optic Systems’ CEO Ben Greene. ‘We consider the strategic partnership with Lockheed Martin a major step towards the achievement of critical mass of sensors, data and services, all of which are critical in providing detailed yet easily usable information on space debris.’