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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Space Force Surveillance Telescope now operating in Australia

Space Force Surveillance Telescope now operating in Australia

Washington – A US-built space surveillance telescope flown from New Mexico to Western Australia is officially operationalAccording to the Space Operations Command.

The Space Surveillance Telescope was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to detect and track debris in geosynchronous orbit, which is about 22,000 miles above Earth’s surface. In 2013, the US Department of Defense signed an agreement with Australia to move the telescope to the Southern Hemisphere to fill the gap in coverage.

SST departed from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in 2017 and captured its first images in 2020. Since then, the system has gone through a rigorous testing program, culminating in today’s initial operational milestones. The Space Force expects the telescope to be fully operational next year.

,Upon completion of the test, the Space Monitoring Telescope will enable greater space-domain insight by providing ground-based search, detection and tracking of faint objects in deep space.The Australian Department of Defense said in a statement dated 30 September.

Under the 2013 agreement, the 21st Space Wing of the Royal Australian Air Force and the Space Force will jointly operate the SST. The United States remains the owner of the telescope, but Australia is responsible for its operators, training, facilities and infrastructure.

SST is part of a group of satellites, radars and ground-based telescopes that make up the United States Department of Defense’s Space Surveillance Network. The SSN tracks thousands of objects, including debris and active satellites.

The domain awareness mission is a top priority for the Space Force and the US Space Command. An April report from the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates there are about 5,500 active spacecraft in orbit, up from about 1,400 in 2015. Proposals submitted to the Federal Communications Commission in recent years indicate that a total of 58,000 satellites may increase over the next decade.

While these systems provide important services such as improved connectivity and communication, a September 29 study by the Government Accountability Office raises concerns about how large clusters may affect the space environment.

According to the GAO, excess overcrowding likely increases space debris, emissions into the upper atmosphere, and impedes astronomical research by reflecting sunlight and transmitting radio signals.

,While these effects may be small for individual satellites, the effects of many satellites operating in large constellations are large or in some cases unknown.”, says Gao.

28 at the virtual State of Defense conference, Deputy Chief of Space Operations General David Thompson said the “explosive” increase in satellite traffic makes it difficult to misconfigure objects and avoid collisions. He advocated the creation of rules and regulations for the disposal of missing spacecraft that ensure satellite owners “clean up what they do”.

“I think we have to start by setting those kinds of controls and norms and standards of behavior,” Thompson said. “If we do that, we should be able to manage domain usage.”

The GAO study also supported creating rules to limit the removal or removal of aging spacecraft and debris, one of four policy options taken in the agency’s report. Other proposals include funding specific research on technologies that can reduce the impact of large constellations, improve data sharing, and improve organizational and leadership structures.

According to the GAO, “a policy framework composed of interconnected alternatives can help policymakers and the space community reduce the potential environmental and other impacts of the development of large satellite constellations.”

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