Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Space Industry and Business News  

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Australian laser system to track space junk

by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) July 20, 2010
An Australian company Tuesday said it had developed a laser tracking system that will stop chunks of space debris colliding with spacecraft and satellites in the Earth's orbit.

Electric Optic Systems said lasers fired from the ground would locate and track debris as small as 10 centimetres (four inches) across, protecting astronauts and satellites.

"We can track them to very high precision so that we can predict whether there are going to be collisions with other objects or not," Craig Smith, the company's CEO, told AFP.

Smith said the technology improved upon existing radar systems because it could detect tiny objects, left behind by disused rockets and satellites, which can still devastate hardware because they are travelling at ultra-high speeds.

He said there were an estimated 200,000 objects measuring less than one centimetre floating in orbit, with another 500,000 of a centimetre or larger.

"It ranges from bus-size bits of rocket bodies all the way down to a little half-a-millimetre fleck of paint," Smith said from the company's headquarters in Canberra.

"The trouble is that they're all travelling at about 30,000 kilometres (19,000 miles) an hour. So unless you're in the same orbit you have hyper-velocity impacts, which can be devastating to a satellite."

Electric Optic Systems said it had developed the technology thanks to a four million dollar (3.5 million US) grant from the Australian government.

Smith said the company has received interest in the lasers, developed at Canberra's Mount Stromlo Observatory, from around the world.

But he said the system would work best with a network of tracking stations placed at strategic points around the globe.

"A network is better than a single station of your own because -- particularly in lower earth orbit -- things are not always coming over your head when you want them to be," said Smith.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Group warns of space debris problems
New York (UPI) Jul 13, 2010
The problem of space debris and its possible dangers must be addressed by all nations of the world, an international foundation has told the United Nations. The Secure World Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to space sustainability, told the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space that developing a legal framework and protocol to address this problem is vital, S ... read more

Eurofighter partners say to develop latest generation radar

'Smart' metal could replace refrigerants

Australian laser system to track space junk

Amazon says Kindle sales leapfrog hardback sales

Thales UK wins Congo army radio contract

Savi Ships Compact Mobile Tracking Systems For Marine Afghan Forces

Army Plans Network Integration Exercise

Gilat To Provide Broadband Satellite For Homeland Security In Asia

Sea Launch Signs Launch Agreement With AsiaSat

PSLV Launch Successful With 5 Satellites Placed In Orbit

ISRO To Launch More Satellites This Year

ILS Successfully Launches The Echostar XV

Magellan Launches Next Gen Of eXplorist

Geospatial Holdings Awarded Pipeline Mapping Project

Lockheed Martin Unveils GPS Exhibit At UN

Tracking System Leads Rescuers To Birds Caught In Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill

Spanish military may replace absent air traffic controllers

China jumbo jet maker picks GE, Eaton as suppliers

Swiss solar plane makes history with round-the-clock flight

Solar Impulse plane packed with technology

Acer, Asus and Lenovo lead pack as PC sales surge

Intel posts 'best quarter' ever

Cloud Computing Problems Can Spot Before They Start

India's poor scrape a dangerous living in new 'e-waste' jobs

Space Solutions Proposed To Lessen Africa's Vulnerability To Natural Disasters

High-Res Elevation Map Data For USA Now Available From Intermap Technologies

NASA Goddard Was In The Earthquake Zone

A Puzzling Collapse Of Earth's Upper Atmosphere

China uses oil-eating bacteria to clean up spill

Industrial Pollution Data Reveals Significant Reporting Gaps

Experts fear long oil effect on marine life, food chain

Hope peeks out over oil-weary Gulf Coast

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement