Tech

November 14, 2012

DARPA’s advanced Space Surveillance Telescope could be looking up from down under


DARPA’s ground-based Space Surveillance Telescope may soon head to Australia.

An agreement reached this week with Australia’s Department of Defense will allow DARPA to take the 180,000-pound, three-mirror Mersenne-Schmidt telescope to Australia to track and catalogues space debris and objects unique to the space above that region of the world that could threaten DOD satellites.

In the joint agreement, the U.S. and Australia have decided to work towards the establishment of the Space Surveillance Telescope on Australian soil.

SST was developed to detect and track previously unseen small objects at the deep space altitudes associated with geosynchronous orbits (roughly 22,000 miles high). Begun in 2002, SST achieved many technical firsts and advances. Able to search an area in space the size of the United States in seconds, SST uses the first large curved charge coupled device focal array. It currently possesses the steepest primary mirror ever polished allowing the telescope to have the fastest optics of this aperture class. The system is capable of detecting a small laser pointer on top of New York City’s Empire State Building from a distance equal to Miami, Florida. These features combine to provide orders of magnitude improvements in field of view and scanning for deep space surveillance.

“We value the partnership with Australia that allows us to widen our space situational awareness and share some of our revolutionary technology advances in space surveillance,” said Travis Blake, DARPA program manager. “This technology development effort could benefit both nations as we catalogue and detect entire sets of currently uncharted objects that are in geosynchronous orbit above Australia.”

SST will feed the data it captures into the Space Surveillance Network, a U.S. Air Force program charged with cataloguing and observing space objects to identify potential near-term collisions with assets in space. The SSN is a worldwide network of 29 space surveillance sensors, including radar and optical telescopes, both military and civilian. DARPA and Australia will also continue to provide deep space surveillance data to NASA for small asteroid detection and to the scientific community.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
NASA/Boeing image

NASA wraps up first green aviation tests on Boeing ecoDemonstrator

NASA/Boeing image NASA’s recent green aviation tests included the Active Flow Control Enhanced Vertical Tail Flight Experiment, for which 31 tiny devices called sweeping jet actuators were installed on the tail of a Boein...
 
 
onr-locust

LOCUST: Autonomous, swarming UAVs fly into the future

A new era in autonomy and unmanned systems for naval operations is on the horizon, as officials at the¬†Office of Naval Research announced April 14 recent technology demonstrations of swarming unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) ‚Ä...
 
 
NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich

Second X-56A MUTT makes first flight

NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich NASA researchers are using the X-56A, a low-cost, modular, remotely piloted aerial vehicle, to explore the behavior of lightweight, flexible aircraft structures. Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong ...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Schaefer takes command of 412th Test Wing

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Maj. Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., Air Force Test Center commander (left), presents the 412th Test Wing guidon to Brig. Gen. Carl Schaefer signifying the beginning of his new command at the 412th ...
 
 

NASA creates partnership to advance composite materials for aircraft of future

NASA has established a public-private partnership with five organizations to advance knowledge about composite materials that could improve the performance of future aircraft. Composites are innovative new materials for building aircraft that can enhance strength while remaining lightweight. The agency selected the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Va., to manage administration of the...
 
 

NASA awards IT contracts to 118 small, disadvantaged businesses

NASA has awarded 118 contracts to small, disadvantaged businesses under Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP V), a multi-award Government-Wide Acquisition Contract vehicle focused on information technology products and product-based services. Of these SEWP V contracts, 14 were awarded to businesses operating in historically underutilized business zones, 25 contracts were awarded to b...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>