New space radar in Costa Rica can track even tiny orbital debris


There’s a new giant space radar in Costa Rica who can follow orbital debris as small as two centimeters. It was built by LeoLabs, a company that provides commercial radar tracking services for objects in low earth orbit, which has declared the site fully operational less than a year after its inauguration. LeoLabs CEO Dan Ceperley said it was the “most advanced commercial space radar of its kind” – a radar capable of tracking golf ball-sized objects traveling up to 30 meters away. 000 kilometers per hour.

Radar can keep an eye on active satellites and space debris, which make up the vast majority of man-made objects found in LEO. These are also the risks that LeoLabs clients – made up of satellite operators, defense, space and regulatory agencies, insurance companies and scientific institutions – want to keep in mind.

Space debris has increasingly occupied Earth’s orbit in recent decades, and this will only become a bigger problem in the years to come, as private companies increasingly deploy constellations of massive satellites. Debris flying through space poses a huge threat to the ISS and future manned missions, hence the need for a company like LeoLabs. Ed Lu, co-founder of the company, explains that “[t]The number one danger to astronauts aboard the International Space Station has been and is today the risk of orbital debris too small for the US Department of Defense to track through the hull. ”

Now that the Costa Rica site is live, LeoLabs now has full coverage of low earth orbit with its four existing radars. He plans to build more radars around the world to ensure he can track low-earth orbit activities, which are likely to become even more congested in the future.

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