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Posted by on Sep 13, 2012 in Science, Technology |

The European Space Agency is working on a radar to detect space debris

The European Space Agency is working on a radar to detect space debris

One of the greatest concern to space agencies and companies operating satellites is the space junk , ie unused objects (rocket debris, old satellites, explosion debris, dust or even paint chips) that Earth orbit and sometimes collide spacecraft or satellites (putting them in danger or even causing occasional damage). To try to minimize the impact of space debris, some research centers are developing ideas to take advantage of all these components without use ( the line following DARPA ) or be removed in the same way that a garbage truck is on the streets of a city ( approximation of Switzerland ). The has also announced an initiative related to space junk though, instead of working in cleaning, going to work in their detection (proactively) using a radar .

The has announced that it will invest 4 billion euros in the design and construction of a Radar station demonstration with which to demonstrate that, by a radar, you can control the space junk circling our planet and thus detect any conflict or impact that may occur. The project is led by ONERA , the French aerospace laboratory, and the entity will have the collaboration of five more private sector partners (from France, Spain and Switzerland) which will be responsible for the construction of the station will be located in France and whose construction will begin immediately.

And what will this demonstrator? The idea is to test, in a real way, different techniques to locate the debris and the risk associated with each of the objects in front of ongoing missions, creating a kind of network of alerts and alarms. With that idea will establish a central issue in Crucey-Villages (west of Paris) and a receiving station in Palaiseau (a town south of Paris) but, to simplify the model, the ESA works with one of the contractors in developing a radar transmitter and receiver where they can be unified into one location.

Over time, the ESA hopes to deploy a network of stations, combined with the network of radio telescopes and observation centers, to establish a system for monitoring, control and alerts all the debris with the idea of having it monitored and act proactively to any kind of problem or collision warning.

A very interesting project that also will generate enough activity within the European aerospace industry.

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