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There’s a new massive space radar assembly in Costa Rica that is able to track orbital debris that are as small as 20 millimeters. It was constructed by LeoLabs, which is a company that provides commercial radar tracking services for objects in LEO (Low Earth Orbit). The radar was made fully operational less than a year after breaking ground. According to LeoLabs CEO Dan Ceperley, it is the ‘most advanced commercial space radar of its kind.’ The site is able to track objects the size of a golf ball that are traveling at up 30,000 kilometers per hour relative to the surface of the Earth.
The radar can also track active satellites. Space junk, however, makes up the overwhelming majority of man-made objects in orbit. LeoLabs’ customers are satellite operators, defense, space and regulatory agencies, insurance and scientific institutions, and all these organizations want to keep track of risks to their operations.
There has been quite a bit of space junk that has been injected into Earth’s orbit over the past few decades. And it’s only bound to become more of a problem for private companies as they deploy more and more massive satellite constellations. Space debris is a serious threat to the ISS (International Space Station) and any future manned mission. So, this is where LeoLabs comes in.
The number one danger to astronauts aboard the International Space Station has been and is today the risk of orbital debris that is too small to be tracked by the US Department of Defense going through the hull.Ed Lu – Founder of LeoLabs
Now that this site in Costa Rica is online, LeoLabs has full coverage of Low Earth Orbit. The company plans to build several more radars around the world so that it can make sure to be able to keep up with the increasing amount of activity in Low Earth Orbit.