In recent years, the amount of space debris around the Earth has increased significantly. Satellites, rockets, debris and other objects left behind after space launches pose a serious threat to satellites and space stations. In this regard, Russia and the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) have launched a new optical-electronic system for detecting and measuring space debris movement parameters.
The opening of the complex took place in Hartebeesthoek, at SANSA’s mission control area. Yuri Borisov, head of Roscosmos, took part in the opening ceremony, emphasizing the importance of expanding the network of space monitoring stations. He noted that the growing number of participants in space activities and the increasing number of satellites in orbit lead to an increase in collision threats. Borisov expressed hope that the new complex will be the beginning of dynamic development of cooperation between Russia and South Africa.
Last year, Russia’s near-Earth space monitoring systems detected more than 600 security violations of the International Space Station and more than 16,000 dangerous passages of space debris objects near satellites. These figures emphasize the need to continue work on expanding the network of near-Earth space monitoring stations.
How does the new optoelectronic complex work?
The optical-electronic complex for the detection and measurement of space debris motion parameters is based on quantum-optical technology. It allows to accurately determine the coordinates and velocity of objects in outer space. The complex consists of several stations located in different territories. They work in synchronization, providing continuous monitoring and measurement of space debris movement parameters.
The network of space monitoring stations makes it possible to promptly detect and track space debris objects and warn of possible collisions. This makes it possible to take measures to avoid dangerous objects and ensure the safety of satellites and space stations.
Why is space debris monitoring necessary?
Space debris is a serious threat to satellites and space stations. Even a small piece of debris can cause significant damage. In addition, collisions of space debris objects can cause a chain reaction where the debris breaks into even smaller pieces, increasing the amount of debris in orbit.
Space debris monitoring allows for the timely detection and tracking of dangerous objects, preventing collisions and damage. This is especially important for the Glonass satellite system, which provides accurate navigation. Thanks to a quantum-optical station with a query-free measurement system, the accuracy of Glonass navigation signals has been significantly improved.
International cooperation in space debris monitoring
Cooperation between Russia and South Africa in the field of space debris monitoring began six years ago with the deployment of a quantum-optical station. Since then, the partnership between the two countries has continued to develop. The opening of the new complex is another step forward in the field of space activity security.
Space debris monitoring is a global problem requiring joint efforts by all countries. Within the framework of international cooperation, joint research is being conducted and new technologies and methods for space debris detection and management are being developed.