According tomedia reports, tracking the location of satellites and orbital debris currently orbiting the Earth has become increasingly important. A new telescope system could help space agencies and other customers do just that — even in broad daylight. Developed by Colorado-based Numerica, the system is known as the first fully functional, low-cost telescope system to observe Earth-orbiting satellites at altitudes of more than 36,000 kilometers during the day.
Two prototypes have been deployed and tested at locations in Colorado and Australia, and they have reportedly been shown to be capable of detecting objects from low-Earth orbit to geosynchronous orbit, day and night. The company is building more telescope systems elsewhere to make the Numerica telescope more widely used.
“Our technology is implemented by high-speed short-wave infrared cameras, custom optics, and advanced algorithms,” said Jeff Shaddix, lead investigator for Numerica Day Tracking. We collect 15GB/min of data from our cameras and apply image processing algorithms to fuse data to reduce noise close to theoretical limits. This allows the detection of weak satellite signals to go beyond what is normally possible with standard optical systems. “
Numerica also points out that unlike some other systems currently under development, the technology does not require any expensive cryogenic cooling equipment.
It is reported that the Numerica system was granted a U.S. patent on August 11 and will be presented next month at the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technology Network Conference.